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by Liu Hsieh 


The Literary Mind and the 
Carving of Dragons 





by Vincent Yu-chung Shih 

New Yor\ Columbia University Press ig^g 

The addition to the "Records of Civilization: Sources and Studies" 
of a group of translations of Oriental historical materials, of which 
this volume is one, was made possible by funds granted by Carnegie 
Corporation of New York. That Corporation is not, however, the 
author, owner, publisher, or proprietor of this publication, and is 
not to be understood as approving by virtue of its grant any of the 
statements made or views expressed therein. 


Published in Great Britain, Canada, India, and Pakistan 

by the Oxford University Press 

London, Toronto, Bombay, and Karachi 

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 58-1 3768 






JACQUES BARZUN, Professor of History 


JAMES T. SHOTWELL, Bryce Professor Emeritus of the History of 
International Relations 

AUSTIN P. EVANS, Professor Emeritus of History 


JOHN H. MUNDY, Associate Professor of History 


C. MARTIN WILBUR, Professor of Chinese History 

WM. THEODORE DE BARY, Associate Professor of Chinese and Japanese 


SALO W. BARON, Professor of fewish History, Literature, and Institu- 
tions on the Miller Foundation; Director of the Center of Israeli Studies 

GILBERT HIGHET, Anthon Professor of the Latin Language and Litera- 

DONALD KEENE, Associate Professor of Japanese 

PAUL O. KRISTELLER, Professor of Philosophy 

GARRETT MATTINGLY, Professor of History 


I am greatly indebted to the Graduate School of the University of 
Washington for giving me grants from both the Graduate School 
Research Fund and the Agnes Anderson Research Fund which made 
it possible for me to devote two summers to my study of Chinese 
literary criticism; I am also grateful to Columbia University for includ- 
ing my translation of the Wen-hsin tiao-lung in the Records of Civiliza- 
tion Series. I wish also to thank Mrs. Beverly Plank for editing and 
typing a part of the manuscript, and Mrs. Mercedes MacDonald and 
Mrs. Margaret T. Myers for typing and proofreading the other part 
of it. Above all, I owe much to Mrs. Julia Lin for her assistance in 
collecting material for the introduction, and to the selfless help Mrs. 
Jacqueline Garnett has given me in reading over the whole manu- 
script, suggesting appropriate terms, polishing the English, and 
improving the style. Without Mrs. Garnett's generous assistance, the 
translation would not have the form it now has. But I alone am 
responsible for both the translation itself and the final form in which 
it appears. 


University of Washington 
September 5, 7957 


Introduction xi 

The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons i 

preface 3 

i. on tao, the source 9 

ii. evidence from the sage 1 3 

iii. the classics as literary sources 17 

iv. emendation of apocrypha 21 

v. an analysis of sao 25 

vi. an exegesis of poetry 3 1 

vii. musical poetry (yueh-fu) 39 

viii. elucidation of fu 45 


x. sacrificial prayer and oath of agreement (the chu 

and the meng) 54 
xi. inscription and exhortation (the ming and the 

chen) 59 

xii. elegy and stone inscription (the lei and the pel) 64 

xiii. lament and condolence (the ai and the tiao) 68 

xiv. miscellaneous writings 73 

xv. humor and enigma (the hsieh and the yin) 78 

xvi. historical writings 83 

xvii. speculative writings 94 

xviii. treatise and discussion (the lun and the shuo) 101 







x Contents 






pien) 165 

xxx. on choice of style 1 69 

xxxi. emotion and literary expression 174 
xxxii. casting and cutting, or, on editing of ideas and 

RHETORIC (jUNG-Ts'Al) 179 





















Liu Hsieh (c. A.D. 465-522), in his Wen-hsin tiao-lung, or The Literary 
Mind and the Carving of Dragons, gives a comprehensive treatment 
of literary theories and critical opinions from the earliest period to his 
own time. As a critic, his genius is demonstrated by the exhaustive and 
penetrating manner in which he deals with literary and rhetorical 
problems. For a better understanding of his insight, a brief survey of 
the development of literary criticism in ancient China will be of great 
help, for here we shall find the main sources of his inspiration. 

Literary opinions in ancient China developed and expanded as 
literary writing advanced. The first traces of such opinions are found 
in the Boo\ of History. "Poetry is the expression of sentiments, and 
songs are these expressions set to music. Tones are prolonged according 
to rules of prosody and intervals chosen according to rules of har- 
mony." 1 This theory of poetry as the expression of sentiments was to 
exert a tremendous influence upon subsequent critics. The idea was first 
elaborated in the "Great Preface" to the Boo\ of Poetry, believed to be 
the work of Wei Hung of the Later Han (flourishing about A.D. 25). 
Since then it has appeared in one form or another in the works of the 
most important critics, including Lu Chi of the Chin (261-303), and 
Liu Hsieh and Chung Hung of the Liang (flourishing during the 
latter part of the fifth and the first part of the sixth centuries). Poetry 
was conceived to be predominantly lyrical in nature, and intimately 
linked to music. The songs and odes in the Boo\ of Poetry conform 
very well to this pattern — a pattern which may be considered purely 

The philosophical period in ancient China was in many ways analo- 
gous to the golden era of classical Greece. Many incidental remarks 
on literature were made by philosophers, whose primary interest was 
not in literature as such, but rather in philosophical truth. Thus their 

1 S hangs hu t'ung-chien (Peking, 1936), 02/0681-0692. 

xii Introduction 

critical judgment was basically ethical rather than esthetic. In China, 
Confucius and others after him valued art chiefly for its moral effect 
on the conduct of the people, frequently mixing moral with literary 
and poetic issues. In Greece Plato, alarmed by the unhealthy effect of 
poetry, banished poets from his city state. Of the two, Confucius was 
perhaps the more enlightened. He not only included poetry as one of 
his main texts for instruction but also told his son and disciples to 
study and imitate its disciplined artistry in order to improve their 
ability to express themselves. 2 He also reminded his students of the 
importance of literary ornament, without which truth will not 
travel far. 3 

This apparent love of beauty of form on the part of Confucius, 
however, is completely overbalanced by his underlying utilitarian 
motive. This utilitarian attitude is most clearly indicated by his remarks 
on the Boo\ of Poetry. He said: 

The odes can stimulate the mind, train the observation, encourage social 
intercourse, and enable one to give vent to his complaint. From them one 
may learn how to fulfil the immediate duty to one's father, and the remote 
duty to one's ruler. And in them one may become widely acquainted with 
the names of birds, beasts, plants, and trees. 4 

Once he characterized the whole Boo\ of Poetry by one single line: 
"It has no undisciplined thought." 5 The virtues of the Poetry being such, 
no Aristotelian defense of the poetic art is necessary. 

However, it would be unjust to say that Confucius lacked esthetic 
appreciation and sensitivity. We are told that at one time he was so 
enthralled by the beauty of the Shao 6 that for three months he did not 
know the taste of meat. 7 This subjective experience, however, did not 
influence his attitude toward art. Because of his authority elsewhere, 
his didacticism was also firmly established as one of the chief traditions 
in the field of literary criticism. 

2 Li-chi yin-te, 32/26. 

3 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 307/Hsiang 25, fu 2. 

4 Lun-yii yin-te, 36/17/8. 5 Ibid., 2/2/2. 

6 A musical score attributed to Shun, one of the legendary rulers. 

7 Lun-yii yin-te, 12/7/14. 

Introduction xiii 

After Confucius came Mencius and Hsiintzu, who continued to 
perpetuate and develop this tradition. Both Mencius and Hsiintzu were 
classical scholars, quoting the Six Classics extensively in their works. 
In their discourse on the Poetry, both emphasized the ethical and cul- 
tural values as did the Master. Mencius, however, with his idealism 
and mystical leanings, was able to adopt a freer approach to literary 
problems. Maintaining that the Poetry should be elucidated in an 
enlightened manner, he said: 

Therefore, those who comment upon the Boo\ of Poetry should not because 
of one term misconstrue the meaning of a sentence, and should not because 
of a sentence misconstrue the original idea. They must try with their 
thoughts to meet that idea, and then they will apprehend it. 8 

This plan for a freer interpretation of creative literature displays an 
insight unique in antiquity. 

It is true that a purely intuitive or subjective judgment is extremely 
hazardous and in many instances nothing more than a wild guess, too 
farfetched to be valid. Very often it is the personal impression of the 
critic, expressive of his emotional approval or disapproval. However, 
a subjective judgment is not entirely without merit. At a time when 
criticism was still in its infancy, sincere opinion was a contribution 
in itself. 9 

The evil of Mencius' subjective approach is mitigated somewhat by 
another theory of his that a work should not be considered in isolation, 
but in the total context of the life and time of the author. 10 Unfortu- 
nately, not many critics who believe in subjective criticism and intuitive 
evaluation are able to balance their view by a historical consideration 
as Mencius advocated. 11 

An even more important contribution is contained in the famous 
theory of yang-ch'i, the fostering of the vital spirit or breath. The nature 

8 Meng-tzu yin-te, 36/5A/4. 

9 The evil effect of this subjective criticism will be clearly seen when we come to deal 
with the "Prefaces" to the Boof{ of Poetry. 

10 Meng-tzu yin-te, 42/5B/8. 

11 Cheng Hsiian of the Later Han wrote his Shih-p'u on the basis of historical criticism. 

xiv Introduction 

of this breath or spirit (ch'i), as conceived by Mencius, is clearly 
ethical. Mencius said, 

Such is the breath (ch'i): it is most great and most strong. Being fostered 
by uprightness and sustaining no injury, it fills up all between heaven and 

Such is the breath: it is the correlate of righteousness (j) and moral 
principle (tao). Without it man is starved. It is produced by the accumula- 
tion of righteous deeds, and not to be obtained by incidental acts of 
righteousness. 12 

It is clear that the term ch'i (breath, or vital life or spirit) stands for 
that moral quality which is attained through a moral life. Yet in a later 
development, it seems to have undergone a shift in meaning, a shift 
from the moralistic pure and simple to a sense which is at once moral 
and esthetic. It is in this latter sense that the term ch'i achieved promi- 
nence in literary and critical nomenclature, for it became a criterion by 
which both the talent of a writer and the quality of his work were 
judged and appraised. 

Hsiintzu held a more practical view of literature than did Mencius. 
To him, the only validity of literature lies in its usefulness, an opinion 
originally found in Confucius and further strengthened by the utili- 
tarian Mohists. However, being concerned with the principle of social 
conduct and the ways and means of producing social harmony, Hsiintzu 
was able to see some value in wen-hsiieh, i.e., literature, in its beauti- 
fying effect upon man's character. 13 The problem here is the sense in 
which he used the term wen-hsueh, generally translated "literature." 
From the context it seems clear that Hsiintzu meant by it learning in 
general. The concept of literature as we understand it today was not 
clearly delineated until the Han period. Prior to the Han, the concept 
of pure literature did not seem to have emerged except when poetry 
was specifically referred to. This lack of a clear distinction between 
literature and learning may have been one of the reasons why poetry, 
which had a glorious start as pure literature, gradually came to assume 

12 Meng-tzu yin-te, 11/2A/2. 

13 Hsiintzu (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), chiian 19, Chapter 27, p. 334. 

Introduction xv 

the function of moral didacticism. This is nowhere better illustrated 
than in the case of Hsiintzu who, more than anybody else, quoted the 
Boo\ of Poetry at every turn to demonstrate his moral points. 

As a philosopher, Hsiintzu was naturalistic. Despite this tendency, 
he seems to have probed deep into the origin and nature of creative 
activities, and to have emerged in the end with a reasonable explana- 
tion of the psychology of creative processes. Observe his penetrating 
insight in his discussion of the principle of music: 

Music is the expression of joy. This is something which human feelings 
made unavoidable. For man cannot be without joy. And when there is joy, 
it must be expressed in sound and given embodiment through movement 
and repose. This is the way with man. In sounds, movements, and pauses 
are expressed all the changes in his mood. Hence man cannot be without 
joy, and when there is joy, it must have a physical embodiment. When this 
embodiment does not conform to right principles, there will be disorder. 
The early kings hated disorder, and so they established the music of the 
Ya and Sung to guide it. They caused its music to be joyful and not to 
degenerate, and its beauty to be distinct and not limited. They caused it in 
its indirect and direct appeals, its completeness and simplicity, its frugality 
and richness, its rests and notes to stir up the goodness in men's minds and 
to prevent evil feelings from gaining any foothold. This is the manner in 
which the early kings established music. 14 

The function of music, accordingly, is to regulate and harmonize 
human emotions, and this inner harmony serves as the basis for the 
achievement of social harmony through //, the principle of social con- 
duct which is the outer counterpart of the inner principle of yueh, or 
music. In view of the intimate relation between music and poetry, 
Hsiintzu's theory could not but exercise great influence on subsequent 

Not all philosophers shared this didactic view of poetry with the 
Confucians. Taoism, with its principle of Tao in the realm of meta- 

14 Ibid., chiian 14, Chapter 20, p. 252. Bodde's translation of Fung Yu-lan's History 
of Chinese Philosophy (Princeton University Press, 1952), I, 342. The first four lines are 
also found in the Li-chi with minor modification, suggesting a different reading, which 
seems to make better sense. On this basis I have taken the liberty of making some changes 
in the translation. 

xvi Introduction 

physics and the principle of nonaction on the plane of experience, 
would have nothing to do with either institution or words. Therefore, 
in the Taoist system of thought, there is no room for literature, because 
for the Taoists language oftener obstructs than assists the communica- 
tion of ideas; it is to be tolerated only as a suggestive aid to the 
attainment of truth, and to be discarded the moment truth is obtained. 
The inability of language to convey truth is imbedded in the very 
nature of language itself. Language is a system of symbols designed 
for the communication of ideas born of common experience. But truth, 
according to the Taoists, is a mystical state which, being unique, cannot 
be expressed in language devised for the conveyance of experience 
common to all who use the same language. But paradoxically, it was 
Chuangtzu, the most noted Taoist, who wrote some of the most 
imaginative literature of his time, and provided the literary world 
with vivid descriptions of his mystical insight into the inner process 
of creation. His philosophical writings, essentially mystical in nature 
and allegorical in form, are characterized with distinct originality and 
unique spontaneity. They are further marked by a keen poetic sensi- 
tivity and an acute esthetic awareness, qualities extremely rare in an 
age suffering from stifling dogmatism and paucity of imagination. 

The transcendental mysticism which permeates all of Chuangtzu's 
works finally crystallizes in the concept of shen (the spiritual or 
divine), which has since become the most important word in our 
critical terminology. The supreme state of shen is sometimes described 
as the "realm of pure experience." It is true that both Mencius and 
Chuangtzu held mystical experience as the highest aim of self-cultiva- 
tion, but their means of reaching this ultimate goal are different. In the 
case of Mencius, it was through "an accumulation of righteous deeds," 
or to be more specific, through acting "with a vigorous effort at 
altruism." But Chuangtzu, instead of following the conventional ethical 
approach, which he openly condemned, took an intuitive and mystical 
approach. The life of "pure experience" is a state which transcends 
both the human senses and the intellect, a state in which one forgets 
the entire world, including his own existence. In such a state, one 

Introduction xvii 

attains that sudden enlightenment in which one experiences union with 
the universe. Such is Chuangtzu's mysticism, and such is his vision 
of the Supreme State. 

His concept of shen, when applied to the process of creation, led 
him to another vision which is equally mystical and equally trans- 
cendental, that is, the vision of an effortless creativity born of perfect 
understanding and comprehension. This creativity is illustrated in 
parables of the Master Butcher, the Wheelwright, and many others. 15 
It is a process which the artist intuits but is unable either to describe 
or to impart. 

Chuangtzu, in his outspoken condemnation of all established institu- 
tions, including language itself, challenged the very standards which 
provided the primary tests of literary values of his time. In so doing, 
he foreshadowed a fresh outlook in art and a new esthetic interest in 
later generations. If Confucius contributed the essential ethical basis 
for traditional criticism in China, Chuangtzu awakened an esthetic 
sensitivity which is even more essential to literary criticism. Moreover, 
the term shen is responsible for a highly mystical and impressionistic 
interpretation of literature which has assumed an equally important 
role in the history of Chinese literary criticism. 

The Former Han period is relatively barren as far as literary theory 
is concerned. The supremacy of Han Confucianism, which was brought 
about during the reign of Emperor Wu (141-87 B.C.) through the 
influence of Tung Chung-shu (flourishing 179-93 B.C.), may be con- 
sidered the crowning stage of an effort at the unification of thought 
initiated during the time of the first emperor of the preceding Ch'in 
dynasty. Such a unification may have stifled individual initiative during 
that time, for Confucius, from being honored simply as a great teacher, 
was finally canonized as a deity, and his words became sacred utter- 
ances to be reverentially followed with unquestioning faith. 

However, the dearth of critical speculations does not imply paucity 
of literary creation. There were writers in plenty who, under the 
influence of the Ch'u poets, wrote a type of melodic and highly adorned 

15 Chuangtzu yin-te, 7-8/3/2-12; 36/13/68-74. 

xviii Introduction 

prose known as the fu. This outburst of literary activity brought about 
a clear conception of literature as distinct from learning in general. 
From now on we can speak of literature without a feeling of uncer- 
tainty as to what is meant by the term. 

Rich experience in writing is often a sine qua non to a profound 
understanding of the nature of literature. The conception of "the mind 
of fu" held by Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju (c. 179-117 B.C.) seems to confirm 
this. When people questioned Ssu-ma as to the nature of fu, he is 
reported to have said: 

The form which we create by means of weaving and the substance which 
we cause to body forth in brocade are the results of the interlacing of the 
warp and the woof and the organizing of \ung and shang [i.e., musical 
tones]. These are the external traces of the fu. But the mind of a fu writer 
encompasses the whole universe, and holds in its view everything from 
human beings to the inanimate world. This encompassing vision is born 
within, and is not to be transmitted. 16 

Later, Yang Hsiung (53 B.C.-A.D. 18) spoke of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju's 
fu as "not from the human world." For to Yang, it was divine: "It is 
the product of one who has attained the state of spiritual transforma- 
tion." 17 Here we see a community of spirit between Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju 
and Chuangtzu in the conception of shen, which was later expressed 
by Wei-wen (Ts'ao P'ei, 187-226) in his conception of ch'i. 

The years between the Former and the Later Han are important 
years in the annals of Chinese literary criticism. We have mentioned 
Wei Hung's elaboration of the classical definition of poetry, and Cheng 
Hsuan's application of Mencius's historical method to his own con- 
sideration and arrangement of poems in the Boo\ of Poetry. Let us 
dwell a little more fully on Wei Hung. 

Wei Hung's elaboration of the classical definition of poetry as the 
expression of the sentiments led to another important theory of literary 
development, which Wei treated in his "Great Preface," 18 a most 

16 Hsi-ching cha-chi (Han-wei ts'ung-shu ed.), chiian 2, pp. 4b-5a. 

17 Ibid., chiian 3, p. 6a. 

18 Shen Chung of the Northern Chou (500-583) attributed the "Great Preface" to 
Tzu-hsia, a disciple of Confucius; Fan Yeh of Liu Sung (398-445), in his Hou-han-shu, 

Introduction xix 

important document in the annals of literary criticism. He believed 
that the nature of poetry was determined by the nature of government. 
The intimate relationship between poetry and government was thought 
to be derived from the fact that, since the function of poetry is to 
express the sentiments, and since we must assume the sentiments to be 
genuine and the expression spontaneous, poetry becomes the most 
concrete and articulate manifestation of the people's attitude toward 
the government. If the government is good, poetry will reflect joy and 
satisfaction; and if the government is bad, poetry will reflect the 
people's resentment and complaint. We must give the ancient rulers 
credit for being shrewd enough to go to poetry for information about 
the quality of local government and the feelings of the people, if the 
tradition concerning the collection of poetry for political purposes can 
be trusted. 

As a descriptive principle, there is nothing wrong with this theory. 
It is just a special application of the general theory that art, however 
fortuitously, reflects life — a meaningful statement even in modern 
times. In ancient China, this theory had a wider application. When 
Prince Chi-cha of Wu visited the state of Lu, he is reported to have 
been able to pass perfect judgment on the government of different 
states by listening to their music. 19 But when a critic follows this theory 
in his interpretation or a poet attempts to conform to it, the theory 
exerts a harmful influence. Since the writing of the "Great and Lesser 
Prefaces," beautiful poems in the Boo\ of Poetry have been so bur- 
dened with allegorical and moral lessons that the genuine feelings 
expressed in them are completely overlooked. 

As a corollary, poetry was assigned a new function utterly extraneous 
to itself: it was made to remonstrate with and admonish the superior. 
For it was believed that to admonish by means of poetic devices, such 
as metaphors, allegories, and parables, was both effective and safe. 
As late as the T'ang dynasty, we still find Po Chii-i (772-846) obsessed 

"Ju-lin chuan," and Cheng Ch'iao of Sung (1104-1162), in his Shih-hsii pien, both at- 
tributed it to Wei Hung, and their opinion has been accepted by scholars. 
19 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 326-327/Hsiang 29/8 Tso. 

xx Introduction 

with the desire to be remembered as a poet who has given the world 
moral insight to serve as a guide to life. 

The theory that art reflects the conditions of the time presupposes 
extreme sensitivity on the part of the artist or poet to the ever-changing 
situations and needs of the time. Faced with such a fluid world, he 
naturally varies his moods in response to it, producing quite spontane- 
ously different literary and artistic forms. All this is either well de- 
scribed or implied in Wei Hung's "Preface." This principle has been 
known as the principle of flexible adaptability. But strangely enough, 
he failed to take the one step more which would have awakened him 
to the truth that any effort on the part of the artist or poet, in the face 
of the changing need, to hold on to the ancient truths will inevitably 
result in failure. 

It was also in these years that classicism was reaffirmed and new paths 
were indicated. Yang Hsiung (53 B.C.-A.D. 18) may be said to be 
responsible for the former and Wang Ch'ung for the latter. 

A Confucian scholar, a poet, and an academician turned "critic," 
Yang Hsiung seemed promising as a critic in his earlier career when 
he enthusiastically applauded the beautiful fu composed by Ssu-ma 
Hsiang-ju, the supreme architect of fu of an earlier generation. We have 
seen how once he was so moved by Ssu-ma's creative talent that he 
believed Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju's fu not to have come from this human 
world of ours. He was not only an admirer of Hsiang-ju's fu, but also 
an ardent imitator of his style. At this time he seemed capable of 
enjoying what is of sheer beauty and pure delight, revealing thus his 
unmistakable awareness of that undefinable act of intuition or vision 
out of which all art originates. His description of the works of Ssu-ma 
Hsiang-ju as shen-hua (spiritual or divine transformation) marks him 
as a believer in the theory that a genius is born and not taught. But 
with this pronouncement came the end of the early phase of his 
critical position. 

In his biography, Yang Hsiung was described as a "lover of an- 
tiquity," a phrase which reveals his final allegiance and also his final 
critical standpoint. In the chapter "Wu-tzu" in his Fa-yen, he expressed 

Introduction xxi 

deep regret for having wasted his youth in the writing of fu, and 
represented Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju's fu, which once elicited from him so 
great an admiration, as beautiful but useless. 20 He wrote the T'ai-hsuan 
(The great mystery) in imitation of the Boo\ of Changes and the 
Tao-te ching, and the Fa-yen (Model sayings) in imitation of the 
Analects, indulging in the use of archaic expressions and obsolete 
words. This love of pedantic display invoked the ire both of his con- 
temporaries and of later writers. Liu Hsin (c. 53 B.C.-A.D. 23), a 
contemporary and friend, described his works as fit only to cover 
pickle jars, and Su Shih of the Sung (1036-1101) believed that Yang 
Hsiung was trying to conceal his shallow scholarship behind the facade 
of pedantry. 

The influence of Yang Hsiung's classicism on his criticism is clear. 
First of all, Yang Hsiung returned to Confucius as the source of all 
inspiration. He said, 

Books, however excellent, are just bookstores if they are not based on the 
principle advocated by Confucius; and talks, however eloquent, are just the 
sound of petty bells when not based on the principle advocated by 
Confucius. 21 

And again, 

Mountain paths are too numerous all to be walked over, and doors in walls 
are too numerous all to be entered. So it may be asked, "By what is one to 
walk or enter?" I reply, "By Confucius. Confucius is the door." 22 

Secondly, he returned to the Classics as the source of all wisdom. 
He said, 

For discussing heaven, there is nothing more discerning than the Boo\ of 
Changes. For discussing human affairs, there is nothing more discerning 
than the Boo\ of History. For discussing the essential, there is nothing more 
discerning than the Boo\ of Rites. For discussing sentiments, there is 
nothing more discerning than the Boo\ of Poetry. For discussing principles, 
there is nothing more discerning than the Annals of Spring and Autumn. 23 
As a result, Yang Hsiung adopted the simple and unadorned style of 

20 Yang Hsiung, Fa-yen (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), chiian 2, p. 4. 

21 Ibid., p. 6. 22 Ibid., p. 5. 23 Ibid., chiian 7, p. 19. 

xxii Introduction 

the Classics, the style advocated first in the Boo\ of History: "In the 
choice of language one should emphasize the essential and should not 
indulge in the extraordinary. 24 In pronouncing that books which did 
not follow the style of the Classics were no books and words which 
did not conform to the style of the Classics were no words, for these 
were useless, 25 he had definitely reduced criticism to a set of dogmas 
which were to become infallible rules among writers and critics for a 
long time to come. He may be compared to the Scaligers, the Johnsons, 
and the Popes of the West. But like them, Yang Hsiung also succeeded 
in imparting to later generations a sense of perspective, a consciousness 
of traditions and a literary taste strengthened through an assimilation 
of the Classics. 

Slightly later than Yang Hsiung, another Confucian scholar was also 
occupied with the ethical content and utilitarian function of literature. 
Wang Ch'ung (A.D. 27-c. 100) was, however, more concerned with 
history and philosophy. This preoccupation caused him to blur the 
distinction between pure literature and other forms of scholarly writ- 
ings, reverting thus to the pre-Han conception of "literature." Hence 
it was philosophy and history that he had in mind when he asserted 
that all literature should be good and true, and should aim to instruct. 
This, however, did not blind him to the beauty of literature. To him 
all that is good and true was beautiful, requiring no additional labor 
to perfect it. And yet he would not go the whole way with Keats and 
chant that truth is beauty and beauty is truth. Wang's concern with 
historical truth committed him to a type of realism which condemned 
all kinds of literary exaggeration and embellishment that did not 
correspond to truth. 26 It is apparent that, despite his esthetic interest, he 
still considered truth the essence of literature, and this essence deter 
mined for him both the quality and the form of literature. 

By nature and interest, Wang Ch'ung was an excellent historian. His 
daring theory of history displays a liberalism unique in an age of 

24 Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 44/0218-0225. 

25 Yang Hsiung, Fa-yen, chiian 5, p. 14. 

26 For his criticism of exaggeration, see the following three chapters in his Lun-heng: 
"Yu-tseng," "I-tseng," and Ju-tseng." 

Introduction xxiii 

dogmatism. When most of the writers were idealizing antiquity and 
slavishly imitating the Classics, he alone set out to attack that attitude. 
He said, 

Those who in ancient times gave good government were sages, and those 
who in later times have given good government are likewise sages. 27 


Narrators of events like to exalt antiquity and disparage the present; they 
esteem what they know through hearsay and slight what they themselves 
see. Debaters discourse on what is long ago, and men of letters write on 
what is far away. The wonderful things near at hand the debaters do not 
mention, and the extraordinary events of our own time the writers do 
not record. 28 

In these words he broke away from the orthodox view of history that 
had hitherto dominated and still continued to dominate the minds of 
the writers in ancient China. Not only did he single out this traditional 
attitude for attack, but he even went so far as to assert that the present 
is better than the past. He said, 

As far as the actual transformation effected by virtues are concerned, the 
Chou dynasty (noo B.C.-256 B.C.) cannot exceed the Han (206 B.C.- 
A.D. 220), whereas if we speak about auspicious omens and prognostica- 
tions, the Han excels the Chou. And if we measure their extent of territory, 
that of Chou was more limited than that of Han. How then is the Han not 
equal to the Chou? It may only be claimed that the Chou had many sages, 
whose government brought about universal peace. But the literati, in 
acclaiming the sages, go too far, placing them on such pedestals that their 
actual traces are lost. In acclaiming their government they are also too 
fulsome, treating of universal peace as something that has been cut off and 
has had no continuation. 29 

In short, history is progressive. To be realistic, literature has to be 
progressive too. Here we have an inkling of the principle of flexible 
adaptability to the varying needs of a changing world. We shall see this 
tendency to change reappear in Ke Hung of the Chin (c. 250-330). 

27 Lun-heng, "Ch'i-shih p'ien," p. 185. 2s Ihid., p. 187. 

29 Ibid., "Hsiian-han p'ien," p. 191. Translations from the Lun-heng are adapted from 
Bodde's. See Fung Yu-lan, History of Chinese Philosophy, II, 158-59. 

xxiv Introduction 

During the subsequent four centuries — the Three Kingdoms, the 
Wei and Chin, the Southern and Northern dynasties after the collapse 
of the Han Empire (220-589)— China was divided into many small 
states and dynasties, each in power for a short period and then giving 
way to others equally ephemeral. The land was constantly engulfed in 
warfare and political chaos; social upheaval and economic disruption 
were the order of the day. Yet, paradoxically, out of these chaotic condi- 
tions and destructive forces a most constructive phase of critical and 
creative vitality emerged. Among the various stages in the history of 
Chinese criticism, this period of disunity may be considered the most 
creative period. 

At a time when all standards seemed to have collapsed, Confu- 
cianism likewise lost the prominent position which it enjoyed during 
the Han times. It is true that people still paid lip service to it, but many 
scholars and creative artists, disillusioned and embittered, turned more 
and more to Taoism and Buddhism. Literature, with a new emphasis 
on linguistic, tonal and formal structures, seemed to have come into its 
own, and its function became more esthetic in nature than morally 
didactic. An increasing interest in esthetic experience is shown in the 
writers' attempt to penetrate further into the nature of the creative 

This esthetic awareness brought about the distinction between pure 
literature {wen) and useful literature {pi). And this distinction, once 
achieved, deepened the awareness which gave birth to it. The vivified 
consciousness was then able to lead creative literature and critical 
analysis to a new height of productivity. Many poets now found their 
primary occupation in verse writing; others, more scholarly, gave their 
attention to literary anthologies. Due to this sudden expansion of 
literary output, an increasing demand for critical judgment was felt. 
With the growing complexities of literature, which brought with them 
new problems, a re-examination of the basic principle of criticism 
became urgent, and it is not at all surprising that a movement of 
intensified critical analysis arose. 

In both the West and in China, emperors and princes often played 

Introduction xxv 

a prominent role as patrons of art. It was under the patronage of the 
great Medicis that Renaissance art flourished in Europe. And in China, 
there emerged during the dark age of political disunity a number of 
emperors and princes who were not only great patrons of art and 
literature but accomplished writers themselves. The real founder of 
the Wei dynasty, Ts'ao Ts'ao (155-220) was a competent poet; his 
younger son Ts'ao Chih (192-232) a poet of the highest calibre. Another 
son, Ts'ao P'ei (187-226), who usurped the throne from the Han and 
founded the Wei, also proved himself a talented poet and an astute 
critic, as well as a great patron of literature. He wrote the famous 
critical essay, the Tien-lun lun-wen. 

The ruling house of the Liang dynasty was equally known for its 
artistic ability and interest in literature. Hsiao T'ung (501-531), who 
died an heir apparent and the patron of our author Liu Hsieh, com- 
piled the famous Wen-hsiian (An anthology of literature), in the 
preface of which he accounted for excluding the Classics and historical 
works from his anthology, the reason being that they were not pure 
literature. Although the ethical considerations still prevailed, they 
were linked to esthetic considerations. Hsiao T'ung's younger brother, 
Hsiao Kang (503-551), who succeeded to the throne in 550 and met 
a tragic death at the hands of a traitor in the following year, displayed 
a pronounced antitraditional attitude when he commissioned Hsu 
Ling (507-583) to compile a collection of contemporary poems under 
the title Yii-t'ai hsin-yung (Jade terrace new songs). These exceedingly 
ornate lyrical poems, marked with sensual imagery, are anything but 
proper and instructive. 

What has been said may be insufficient to explain why the period of 
disunity became an important period in literary criticism, but it serves 
to show the atmosphere in which the critical spirit was fostered. 

The first important critic who is to engage our attention has already 
been mentioned. Ts'ao P'ei, in his Tien-lun lun-wen (Essay on litera- 
ture), made the first attempt to define the specific nature of some 
dominant literary genres. 80 He says: 

30 Ts'ao P'ei: "Tien-lun-wen," in Wen-hsiian, chiian 52. 

xxvi Introduction 

Literary compositions are all derived from a common source, but they 
develop into different forms. The tsou and i [memorial and discussion] 
should be graceful; the shu and lun [episde and essay] should be logical; 
the ming and lei [inscription and elegy] should be factual; and shih and fu 
[poetry and poetic prose] should be beautiful. 31 

While strictly classical in his definition of poetry, he had gone beyond 
the scope of any previous work. 

The essay also marks the beginning of a systematic evaluation of the 
works of seven distinguished poets of his time, known collectively in 
the history of Chinese literature as "Chien-an ch'i-tzu" (the Seven 
Masters of the chien-an period, 196-220). Ts'ao's chief contribution to 
literary theory is his concept of ch'i (breath or spirit), a term he bor- 
rowed from Mencius. Elevating the term to a new level of meaning, 
signifying individual talent, he further classified it into two categories, 
the clear and the muddy. Then he asserted that a man is born with 
his talent, which cannot be handed down through instruction. The 
influence of Chuangtzu is evident, for the nontransferable quality of 
talent reminds us of the master wheelwright's grief at having to keep 
at making wheels at the age of seventy because he was unable to impart 
his knowledge to anyone else, not even his own son and younger 
brother. In Ts'ao P'ei's words, "Even a father or an elder brother can- 
not teach his son or younger brother." 32 

With the application of the term ch'i to literary work itself, its 
meaning seems to have shifted, for it now denotes a literary style. Here 
Ts'ao P'ei perceived that talent for one style need not imply talent for 
any other style, and that few men have an all-round talent for all the 
styles. Therefore, he concluded, every poet should seek the style which 
best suits his special talent. And then, in a passage as incongruous as 
a dog's tail at the end of a fox fur, he spoke of literary composition 
as a means of acquiring eternal fame. It is unfortunate that this became 
for many a writer, including Liu Hsieh, a dominant motive for 
writing at all. 

31 ibid. 32 ibid. 

Introduction xxvii 

In the Chin dynasty, the most important work on criticism and 
rhetoric is Lu Chi's (261-303) Wen-ju (Essay on literature in the form 
of a fu). Scintillating with poetic beauty and critical insight, the 
Wen-ju is a landmark in the history of Chinese literary criticism. A 
poet of great talent himself, Lu Chi revealed the subtle and mysterious 
nature of esthetic experience and the creative process with a clarity and 
beauty of expression that are seldom excelled. Convinced that the 
Wen-fu must be read to be appreciated, I shall quote a few passages 
from the remarkable translation by Ch'en Shih-hsiang 33 to show the 
poet's penetrating insight into the state of creativity. 
In regard to creative impulse he says, 

In the beginning, 
All external vision and sound are suspended, 
Perpetual thought itself gropes in time and space; 
Then, the spirit at full gallop reaches the eight limits of 

the cosmos, 
And the mind, self-buoyant, will ever soar to new unsur- 
mountable heights. 

When the search succeeds, 
Feeling, at first but a glimmer, will gradually gather into 

full luminosity, 
Whence all objects thus lit up glow as if each the other's 
light reflects. 

On the arduous process of preparation, when words, expressions, 
images and metaphors are wrung out of the subconsciousness, he says: 

Arduously sought expressions, hitherto evasive, hidden, 
Will be like stray fishes out of the ocean bottom to emerge 

on the angler's hook; 
And quick-winged metaphors, fleeting, far-fetched 
Feathered tribes, while sky-faring are brought down from 

the curl-clouds by the fowler's bow. 

33 All quotations are taken from Ch'en Shih-hsiang's translation of Lu Ch'i's Wen-ju, 
entitled Essay on Literature (The Anthoensen Press, Portland, Maine, 1953). See note 13, 
"Preface," for the other English translations of this work. 

xxviii Introduction 

On composition he says: 

A composition comes into being as the incarnation of 

many living gestures. 
It is (like the act of Tao) the embodiment of endless 

To attain Meaning, it depends on a grasp of the subtle, 
While such words are employed as best serve beauty's 


One of the most penetrating passages in the fu is the one on inspiration : 

Such moments when Mind and Matter hold perfect 

And wide vistas open to regions hitherto entirely barred, 

Will come with irresistible force, 

And go, their departure none can hinder. 

Hiding, they vanish like a flash of light; 

Manifest, they are like sounds arising in mid-air. 

So acute is the mind in such instants of divine compre- 

What chaos is there that it cannot marshal in miraculous 

While winged thoughts, like quick breezes, soar from 
depths of the heart, 

Eloquent words, like a gushing spring, flow between lips 
and teeth. 

No flower, or plant, or animal is too prodigal of splendour 

To recreate under the writer's pen, 

Hence the most wondrous spectacle that ever whelmed 
the eye, 

And notes of the loftiest music that rejoiced the ear. 

But of all the lines I must choose the following as a superb expression 
of the mysterious source of an artistic impulse: 

For it is Being, created by tasking the Great Void. 34 
And 'tis sound rung out of Profound Silence. 

34 The Chinese character here rendered as "tasking" literally means "to try" or "to 
tax." A more literal translation of the line would be: "Tax the Void or nonbeing to 
yield Being" (a Taoist conception). 

Introduction xxix 

Lu Chi was evidently deeply influenced by Chuangtzu's concept of 
nonbeing, the Great Void, the supreme state which is not only the 
source of an artistic impulse, but also the ultimate state of pure experi- 
ence which transcends all logic and words. Lu Chi spoke of this state 
as "a force which even the Master Wheelwright Pien could not express 
in words." 

Another contribution to literary history made by Lu Chi is his 
definitions of a number of literary genres, definitions which are much 
more adequate than those attempted by Ts'ao P'ei in his Tien-lun 
lun-wen. He says: 

The Lyric (Shih), born of pure emotion, is gossamer fibre 

woven into the finest fabric; 
The exhibitory Essay (Fu), being true to the objects, is 

vividness incarnate; 
In Monumental Inscriptions (Pei) rhetoric must be a foil 

to facts; 
The Elegy (Lai, lei) tenderly spins out ceaseless heartfelt 

The Mnemonic (Ming) is a smooth flow of genial phrases, 

succinct but pregnant; 
The staccato cadences of the Epigram (Chen) are all 

transparent force. 
While Eulogy (Sung) enjoys the full abandon of grand 

The Expository (Lun) must in exactitude and clarity 

The Memorial (Tsou), balanced and lucid, must be 

worthy of the dignity of its royal audience, 
The Argument (Shuo) with glowing words and cunning 

parables persuades. 
Meticulous as these classifications are, 
Lest passion and thought, given free rein, may wantonly 

go astray, 
The maxim holds: Let Truth in terms most felicitous be 

While of verbiage beware. 

At the same time we find Tso Ssu (?-c. 306) developing the Classical 

xxx Introduction 

definition of poetry into a kind of realism. In the preface to his Three 
Capital Fu he said that in poetry we express our sentiments and in fu 
we describe what we see. If we deviate from these fundamental facts, 
that is, our feelings and the objective world, to indulge in ornate 
expressions and fabrications, such as the fu of Ssu-ma Hsiangju, Yang 
Hsiung, Pan Ku, Chang Heng, and their group, in which are men- 
tioned many things contrary to known facts, we commit a crime against 
truth. This attitude explains why it took him ten years to complete his 
Three Capital Fu, for he needed that long to collect and verify his 
facts. It would seem that he did not countenance the use of imagina- 
tion, the very soul of any work of art, including literary art. Fortunately, 
he did not follow his own advice, for how else could his fu have caused 
the price of paper in Lo-Yang to go up? 35 

Chih Yii (?-3i2), following the lead of Ts'ao P'ei and Lu Chi, made 
another attempt to classify literary works but, like Prince Hsiao T'ung 
later, he did it by compiling anthologies. From the fragments of his 
work, we find him advocating the function of literature as the depicting 
of natural scenes, the clarifying of human relations, the extensive study 
of reason and human nature, and ultimately, the determining of the 
proper station of all things. 36 It is clear that his view of literature is not 
a pure one. It includes in its province all that is written, in much the 
same spirit as that in which literature was later conceived by Liu 
Hsieh, the author of Wen-hsin tiao-lung. It is also clear that his view 
is a utilitarian one, as may be seen from his conception of literary 
development as a concomitant to the changing process of historical 
needs. 37 

At approximately the same time, Ke Hung (250-330) applied Wang 

85 See his biography in the Chin-shu. 36 Ch'tian-chin-wen, chuan 77. 

37 Many other attempts at literary classification were made at this time, one of which 
was the Han-lin lun of Li Ch'ung (c. 323). The work has not come down to us, but from 
Liu Hsieh's evaluation, it is "shallow and of little consequence." At Liu Hsieh's own 
time, Hsiao T'ung, reportedly a patron of Liu Hsieh, introduced a clear-cut definition of 
literature by including in his anthology, the Wen-hsiian, only works of imagination and 
art, and excluding the Classics, philosophical, and historical works. He might have been 
one source of inspiration to Chung Hung, who restricted his scope still further to that 
of the five-word-line poetry. But he exercised little or no influence on Liu Hsieh, who 
took all written records to be within the scope of literature. 

Introduction xxxi 

Ch'ung's progressive theory of history to literary criticism. But he 
displayed a liberalism seldom found in the other critics of the time. 
He did not attack literary embellishment as superfluous and useless, 
nor did he prize the Classics above contemporary literature. On the 
contrary, he asserted unequivocally that current compositions were 
more beautiful than the ancient, unadorned or simple Classics, and that 
to evolve from simplicity to beauty of form was a natural tendency. 38 

On the question of which is more important, talent or discipline, he 
entertained a balanced view. He believed that natural talent and 
literary discipline complement each other. The importance of talent 
was recognized by Ts'ao P'ei, and that of discipline by Lu Chi. To 
Ke Hung, one was as indispensable as the other. To separate them 
was to rob each of its vital complement. 

Due to certain characteristics of the Chinese language, tonal pattern 
has always occupied the attention of great literary writers. Ssu-ma 
Hsiang-ju considered it an element in the embellishment of the fit, and 
Lu Chi spoke of it in the following lines: 

The interactions of sounds and tones are like 
The five colours that each the others enhances. 39 

Even Chung Hung, who wrote scathingly against Shen Yueh's arbi- 
trary rules for the sound pattern, acknowledged the natural musical 
quality of the language, which he felt should be spontaneously applied 
by the poet. 40 But it was Shen Yueh (441-513) and his group who, 
dissatisfied with the looseness with which tones and sounds had 
hitherto been employed in the field of versification, succeeded in formu- 
lating rules governing poetic language. These rules formed a body of 
intricately technical prosodic laws. Nevertheless they were accepted 
by many men of the period, including Liu Hsieh, who devoted a 
chapter in his Wen-hsin (Chapter XXXIII) to their discussion. 

Since Shen Yueh and his group flourished during the Yung-ming 
period (483-493), the style, in accordance with their tonal laws, is 

38 Ke Hung, Pao-p'u tzu, chiian 30, pp. 155-156. 

39 Ch'en, Essay on Literature, p. xxiv. 

40 Chung Hung, Shih-p'in chu (notation by Ch'en Yen-chieh), K'ai-ming shu-chii 
(Shanghai, 1930), pp. 8-9. 

xxxii Introduction 

known as Yung-ming ti, or the style of the Yung-ming period. In spite 
of some opposition from writers like Chung Hung, these tonal laws, 
while never followed to the letter, not even by Shen Yueh himself, 
were destined to exercise tremendous influence upon the prosody of 
subsequent ages, particularly the T'ang period. 

Chung Hung (c. 500) and Liu Hsieh were contemporaries but, since 
they apparently did not know each other, Chung had no direct influence 
on Liu Hsieh. However, since his Shih-p'ing is one of the most impor- 
tant critical works of the time, it deserves a short account here. 

The main purpose of the work was to evaluate the poets of the 
five-word-line pattern. Adopting the political system of selecting offi- 
cials by classifying all nominees into three groups and nine categories, 
Chung likewise classified the poets into three groups, arranging them 
in order of excellence from the highest through the middle to the 
lowest. "The lowest" does not mean poor, since it is a relative term, 
and to be included at all in any of the groups, a poet had to possess 
unusual talent. Although later generations have not agreed with all 
of his judgments — the one concerning T'ao Ch'ien of the Chin having 
been the most hotly contested — they are generally sound. The classifica- 
tion is prefaced by a short historical introduction, tracing the develop- 
ment of the five-word-line pattern poetry from earliest times to the 
time of the Chin. But in the classification Chung included poets of 
his own day. In judging each poet, he usually began by linking him 
to an earlier source; then he gave the poet's specific quality. 

This practice of classification, the sterility of which is quite obvious 
to us today, was nevertheless a popular and legitimate method in Chung 
Hung's time, and it was also used in much ancient Greek and Latin 
criticism. Aristophanes, perhaps the first serious critic in the West, 
made exactly such an attempt to classify poets into various ranks of 
excellence. Chung Hung's judgment may have been subjective and 
impressionistic, but he seems to have raised some of the basic critical 
problems which we still encounter today. Like Aristophanes, he asked 
implicitly: In what order of merit should poets be ranked and on 
what ground should they be judged? If he did not give us clear answers 

Introduction xxxiii 

to these questions, he at least offered his contemporaries and students 
of later ages some suggestive guides for their evaluation of literature. 

To sum up: Throughout the early periods, the classical definition of 
poetry as the expression of the sentiments ruled supreme. However, 
the conception of the sentiments as moral ideas as well as emotion 
prevented poetry and, for that matter, literature in general, from 
developing into pure lyricism, but destined it to be a vehicle of moral 
principles, and its function to be primarily didactic. Such being the 
case, it is easy to see why the Classics were always held as the criteria 
of literary excellence, in spite of the recognized need of the principle 
of flexible adaptability to historical changes. One refreshing view is 
the conception of the creative process, a view which grew, in nearly 
every case, out of the personal esthetic experience of the creative artist. 
In accounting for this creativity, it is interesting to note that nearly all 
writers, or poet-critics, emphasized both natural gifts and hard-earned 
erudition. This sense of balance is particularly marked in Liu Hsieh. 

Liu Hsieh, 41 alias Yen-ho (c. A.D. 465-522) was a native of Tung- 
kuan, the present Lii-hsien in Shangtung province. His father died 
when he was a child and he was reared in poverty by his mother. When 
he was about twenty years of age, his mother died. He never married, 
partly because of his poverty, and partly, no doubt, because of his 
interest in Buddhism. He is said to have assisted Seng-yu in editing 
Buddhist sutras in Ting-lin Monastery, and to have taken part in the 
preparation of the Hung-ming chi. His own contribution to this col- 
lection is "Mieh-huo lun," which is found in chiian 8. We are told 
that both Hsiao T'ung, the author of the famous anthology entitled 
Wen hsiian, and Shen Yueh, the great exponent of musical patterns in 
literature, spoke well of his literary talents. But no mention of Liu 
occurs in the biography of either writer. Liu wrote Wen-hsin tiao-lung 
{The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons) in the Southern 
Ch'i period; but as he lived into the Liang dynasty, he is generally 
regarded as belonging to the Liang period, and his biography is 

41 The section on Liu Hsieh first appeared as an article in the Asiatische Studien 1 Etudes 
Asiatiques, 3/4 (1953), 123-34. 

xxxiv Introduction 

included in the History of Liang. Late in life, he was commissioned by 
Emperor Wu of Liang to re-edit Buddhist sutras in Ting-lin Monastery, 
this time in cooperation with a monk by the name of Hui-chen. With 
the completion of this task, he petitioned the emperor for permission to 
take Buddhist vows. The permission was granted, and he became a 
monk in the same monastery where he twice had edited Buddhist 
sutras. There he received the Buddhist name of Hui-ti. Shortly after- 
wards he died. 

Some modern writers believe that Liu Hsieh's classicism was moti- 
vated by a desire to lend authority to his own views, 42 a version of 
"reform in the name of antiquity." But many others 43 think that Liu 
was sincere in preferring classicism to the growing tendency in current 
literary circles to deviate from the classical pattern. Here I shall first 
give a brief account of Liu's classicism, then turn to a study of his 
literary criticism and, finally, try to ascertain what role classicism does 
play in his system and to what degree he may be considered a classicist. 

Liu's classicism is revealed in his "Preface," where he tells us that he, 
ceremonial vessels in his hands, followed Confucius in a dream. He 
also indicates that had there been no Ma Yung and Cheng Hsiian 
before him, he would have used his talent to make commentaries on 
the Classics. 44 Even his decision to devote himself to literary criticism 
was influenced by the fact that for him the functions of literature have 
their source in the Classics. 45 In view of the prevalent indulgence in 
an exceedingly florid style in literature, he considered it his duty to 
try, by writing critically on literature, to check this divergent tendency. 
Thus he says, "The writing of Wen-hsin has its source in the Tao, 
its model in the Sage, and its pattern in the Classics." 46 His book opens 
with the chapter "On Tao, the Source," followed by "On the Evidence 
from the Sages" and "On the Classics as Literary Sources." 

42 Liang Sheng-wei, "Wen-hsiieh p'i-p'ing-chia Liu Yen-ho p'ing-chuan," Hsiao-shuo 
yiieh-pao, Vol. XVII, Supplement. 

43 Lo Ken-tse, Wei-chin liu-ch'ao wen-hsiieh p'i-p'ing shih (Chungking, 1944). 

44 Wen-hsin tiao-lung chu, ed. by Fan Wen-Ian, K'ai-ming shu-tien, 1947 (henceforth 
abbreviated as Wen-hsin), chiian 10, pp. 2ob-2ia. 

46 Ibid. 

46 Ibid., p. 21b. 

Introduction xxxv 

In the first chapter, while tracing the origin of literature to nature, 
he seems to envisage an orthodox principle taken from nature, a 
principle which was handed down from one sage to another until 
Confucius completed it by writing the "wings." 47 The other Classics 
were developed in the hands of sages and it was again Confucius who, 
excelling all others before him, brought the six Classics to their 
final form. 48 

In the second chapter, Liu seeks to establish Confucius as the 
authority for the various functions of literary forms by reference to 
his utterances, as recorded in the Classics and their commentaries. The 
functions of these literary forms are political and moral in nature. 49 
As for the literary styles exemplified in the Classics, they are : simplicity 
in conveying thought, linguistic richness in embodying emotions, logical 
clarity in establishing fundamental principles, and allegorical and 
figurative speech as a means of suggestive remonstration. 50 

In Chapter Three, "On the Classics as Literary Sources," Liu defines 
the Classics as the essence of literature, embodying eternal principles. 51 
According to him, the general characteristics of the Classics are that 
they contain ideas which are completely adequate for expressing one's 
emotions, and that their language is of such a quality that it follows 
perfectly the literary principles. 52 If one is versed in them, one's utter- 
ance would naturally be profound, for, he says, "a bell of ten thousand 
weights will not ring out petty sounds." 53 Liu traces all literary genres 
back to the Classics. If one always took the Classics as his sources, 
there would be no danger of his becoming withered up and fading 
away. If a writer relied on the Classics, his work would be distinguished 
by one of the following characteristics: deep emotions untainted by 
artificiality, unmixed purity of form, empirical truth untarnished by 
falsehood, moral ideas uninvolved in perversity, simple style free from 
verbosity, and literary beauty unmarred by excess. 54 

47 Commentaries in the Boo\ of Changes. Liu Hsieh apparently adopted the belief 
that these were written by Confucius, a belief which has been generally discredited. 

48 Ibid., chiian i, pp. ia-ib. 49 Ibid., p. 9b. 50 Ibid., p. 10a. 

51 Ibid., p. 13a. ™lbid. 53 Ibid., pp. isa-isb. 

54 Ibid., p. 14a. 

xxxvi Introduction 

Apart from these first three chapters, there are many other references 
to the Classics. In the chapter entitled "An Analysis of Sao or Ch'u- 
tz'u" Liu considers the rise of Sao as a consequence of the decline of 
feng and ya. 55 In considering different views concerning the conformity 
of Li-sao to the Classics, Liu recognizes two divergent tendencies in 
Li-sao, one of which is in harmony with the Classics and the other 
contrary to them. In Li-sao Liu finds four ways in which Li-sao is in 
harmony with feng and ya. These are: The Li-sao contains a style of 
tien and \ao, it employs the style of satirical suggestion, it adopts the 
use of metaphor and allegory, and it expresses the sentiments of loyalty 
and lament. There are also four things which mark Li-sao as unclassi- 
cal. These are: the inclusion of strange tales, and of fantastic stories, 
and evidence of an eccentric and narrow mind, and of an indecent 
desire for a loose life. 56 

In the chapter on "An Exegesis cf Poetry," a province in which 
classical and literary elements coincide, Liu quotes the description of 
poetry from the Shu-ching: "Poetry is the expression of sentiments, and 
songs are these expressions set to music." 57 He also repeats Confucius' 
statement that in the Shih-ching there is no undisciplined thought. 58 
He cites with approval Confucius' utilitarian view of poetry, 59 and 
endorses the general theory enunciated in Mao's "Preface" that poetry 
reflects the political conditions of the times, and that poetry declines as 
time passes and departs from the age of the Sage. In line with this 
view, he condemns the poetry of the Cheng-shih period (240-248) and 
of the Eastern Chin for being adulterated by Taoism and having a 
metaphysical flavor. 60 

He believes that musical poetry (yueh-fu) rose after the decline of 
the ya odes, 61 and refers to the fu as one of the six elements of the 

55 Ibid., p. 28b. 5G Ibid., pp. 29a-29b. 

57 Ibid., chiian 2, p. ia; Shu-ching, "Shun-tien" (Shih-san-ching chu-shu ed.), chiian 3, 
p. 26a. 

58 Lun-yii yin-te (Harvard Yenching Institute, Peiping, 1940), 2/2/2. 

59 Wen-hsin, chiian 2, p. ia; Lun-yii yin-te, 2/1/15; 4/3/8. 

60 Wen-hsin, chiian 2, p. 2a. 

61 Ibid., p. 24b. 

Introduction xxxvii 

Shih-ching? 2 Liu claims that the fu receives its life from the poets of 
the Odes, 63 and therefore may be traced back to them. 

Liu makes many allusions to the Classics, particularly the Shih-ching. 
The chapter entitled "Metaphor and Allegory" is completely dominated 
by the spirit of traditional interpretation. But what has been said is 
enough to indicate Liu's classical tendency. We shall pass on to the 
discussion of his literary criticism. 

The term "literary criticism" is used here in its broadest possible 
sense. It includes literary history, literary theory, and literary apprecia- 
tion and evaluation. In the case of Liu Hsieh, these three are closely 
interwoven and give his work an underlying unity in the midst of 
apparent chaos. 

Liu's desire to write the Wen-hsin tiao-lung arises from his dissatis- 
faction with the general state of literary production of the times, and 
with the fragmentary manner in which literary criticism has been 
dealt with. As a prelude to his work, he reviews existing critical works 
and gives to each an epigrammatic verdict which implies some general 
criteria of his own. Of Wei-wen, Lu Chi, Chih Yii, and others, he says, 
"Each reflects a particular corner, and few have envisioned the open 
vista." 64 And he further comments, "They are all unable to trace back 
from the leaves to the roots, or back from the tide to its source." 65 
These verdicts indicate a discerning mind equipped with a penetrating 
critical spirit. He is truly a critic of critics. In the chapter called "A 
General Consideration of the Art of Writing," he says of Lu Chi, "His 
Wen-fu has been known for its penetrating and exhaustive discussion 
of the art of writing, but, in its superficial attention to details, it has 
not adequately dealt with the substance." 66 Thus Liu apparently feels 
that it is up to him to offer a comprehensive account of the principles 
of literary criticism. 

Liu has an interesting idea of a competent critic. In his opinion a 
competent critic is one who, to begin with, is widely acquainted with 
literature and highly sensitive to its intrinsic values. Then there are 

62 Ibid., p. 46a. 63 Ibid., p. 46b. **lbid., chuan 10, p. 21a. 

65 Ibid., p. 21b. 66 Ibid., chuan 9, p. 12a. 

xxxviii Introduction 

other prerequisites to the understanding of a piece of literature: the 
ability to recognize the genre and style, the ability to determine if the 
work complies with the principle of adaptability to change, and the 
ability to distinguish between the extraordinary and the orthodox in 
subject matter and to pass judgment on the appropriateness of historical 
allusions and musical patterns. Above all, the critic should be able to 
trace back from the words to the feeling of the author, 67 a criterion 
that vaguely indicates a belief in the oneness of the creative genius and 
appreciative taste. Through these abilities, a critic is enabled to grasp 
the meaning or the esthetic beauty of a literary work. 68 But an under- 
standing critic is rare, because most people depreciate their contempo- 
raries and worship only the Ancients. 69 However, an appreciative 
critic is essential to the realization of the value of a literary work. 
For a literary work loses much of its richness if it is not appreciated. 70 

Liu traces the origin of literature to nature. For him, just as it was 
for Horace, literature is both sweet and useful. His verbal emphasis is 
on the useful and his real interest in the sweet. 71 In his "Preface" he 
says, "Time is fleeting and life itself is transitory. If a man really wants 
to achieve fame, his only chance is to devote himself to writing." This 
utilitarian view is more than balanced by his deep interest in aspects 
which are purely literary. This interest is revealed in the title of his 
book: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons. His own expla- 
nation is: "The literary mind is that mind which strives after literary 
forms." 72 And the term "the carving of dragons" stands specifically 
for literary embellishment. For, he says, "since from time immemorial 
literature has always been characterized by certain embellishments."' 3 
His view of the scope of literature is broad. From the types of writing 
he includes in his discussion of literature, it is apparent that he holds 
nothing in writing to be beyond the province of literature. 

Literary development is treated by Liu Hsieh in a number of ways. 
Development of general trends, Liu believes, follows the principle of 

67 Ibid., 

chiian io, p. 14a. 

68 Ibid., p. 13b. 

69 Ibid., p. 13b. 

70 Ibid., 

p. 14b. 

71 Ibid., p. 2lb. 

72 Ibid., p. 20b. 

73 Ibid. 

Introduction xxxix 

the flexible adaptability to change. He says, "As time has passed and 
as dynasties have risen and fallen, literature has developed from the 
simple to the more ornate in form as well as in content." 74 And again 
he says, "It is the law of literature both to move along and to come to 
full circle; the merit of literature renews itself from day to day. If it 
changes, it will endure; if it adapts itself to the changing tide, it will 
lack nothing." 75 Thus, the literary forms of each generation conform 
to the spirit of that generation and, when changes take place in the 
spirit of the age, literary forms modify themselves accordingly. This 
explains the rise of different genres in different ages. Occasionally Liu 
emphasizes the moral and political influence of an age on the char- 
acter of literature. 

When Liu moves from the discussion of general trends in literature 
to a discussion of literary genres, he holds that the form of each genre 
is characterized by certain norms, and his classification of literary 
genres is based on these norms. His distinctions between literary genres 
are, at times, very strict. This indicates that he does not seem to see 
the possibility that changes might have taken place across the ages in 
the conception of these genres. But, on the other hand, the arbitrariness 
of his classification cannot escape the attention of even the most casual 
reader when it is noted that his genres are not mutually exclusive but 
are overlapping. 

Liu's book abounds in critical evaluation of individual authors and 
their works. All that can be attempted here is to ferret out the criteria 
he seems to have used in making these evaluations. These criteria seem 
to fall into the following categories : ( i ) natural talents, (2) fullness of 
feelings and emotions, (3) style as expressed in terms of artisitc quality 
of language, (4) moral convictions and philosophy of life, (5) scholar- 
ship and learning, (6) the nature of the subject matter treated, and 
(7) the musical patterns. Liu himself, on two occasions, reduces these 
categories to neat formulas. On one occasion he offers three main 
patterns: the pattern of colors, the pattern of sounds, and the pattern 
of emotions. 76 On another occasion he gives four categories: emotions 

74 Ibid., chiian 9, p. 22. 75 Ibid., chiian 6, p. 18a. 7G Ibid., chiian 7, p. ia. 

xl Introduction 

and sentiments, which are the spirit of literature; facts and principles, 
which are the bone and marrow; linguistic patterns, which are the 
flesh; and musical patterns, which are the voice and the breath. 77 He 
devotes most of the second portion of his work to the elaboration of 
these elements, and the discussion of the relationship between them. 
In view of the fact that Liu never discusses any element in isolation, it 
may be wise to begin our analysis with the relationship between the 

In considering the relative importance of these literary elements, Liu 
shows a remarkable sense of balance. He is a critic in whom emotion 
and intellect, beauty of linguistic form and fullness of emotional con- 
tent are balanced. He says, 

Literary beauty means adorning the language; but language's appropri- 
ateness and beauty is conditioned by inner feelings. Therefore, feelings are 
the warp of literary patterns and linguistic forms are the woof of ideas. 
Only when the warp is straight, can the woof be formed; and only when 
ideas are definite, can linguistic forms be expressive. 78 

His respect for the ancient poets lies in the fact that they built their 
literary forms on emotions, while later poets fabricated emotions to 
fit literary forms. 79 But literary forms are not fallacious in themselves; 
the fallacy lies in having the forms alone without emotions. Emotions 
are tuned to changes of external scene. Spring, summer, autumn, and 
winter — each affects us in a specific way and arouses in us certain 
specific emotions. 80 Since stock phrases are inadequate for the depicting 
of varying emotions, Liu demands freshness in linguistic pattern as a 
condition of good literature. 81 Thus the importance of emotion is 
matched by that of literary expression. In defense of linguistic beauty 
he says, "What is written by the sages and worthy men is summed up 
under the phrase wen-chang. What is it, if not beauty of form?" 82 
Liu is apparently expressing a new appreciation of the literary qualities 
of the Classics. For him, substance depends on literary pattern for 
expression, just as expressions depend on emotions for their content. 

77 Ibid., chiian 9, p. 9b. 78 Ibid., chiian 7, p. ib. 79 Ibid. 

80 Ibid., chiian 10, p. ia. 81 Ibid. 82 Ibid., chiian 7, p. ia. 

Introduction xli 

Liu not only defends rhetoric; he also endorses literary exaggeration 
and embellishment. For his justification, he paraphrases Mencius, 
"Though the language be exaggerated, it harms not the ideas." 83 Here 
Liu sees the real function of literature as consisting in the creation of 
beautiful linguistic forms for the purpose of moving the heart of the 

In his discussion of musical poetry he discloses the intimate relation- 
ship between music and poetry. He says, "Poetry is the heart of music, 
and sound is the body of music. Since the body of music lies in sound, 
musicians must tune their instruments; since the heart of music lies in 
poetry, superior men should make right their literary forms." 84 From 
this it is only a short step to the view that music is the reflection of the 
age, and that by listening to the music of any age one is able to discern 
the character of that age. Poetry and music are thus intimately bound 
together by their identical function. 

The ability to weave these literary elements into beautiful rhythmic 
and musical expressions of real emotion and feeling, incorporating into 
the texture true moral convictions and principles, is, of course, a gift of 
nature. But effort and learning contribute much to the richness in 
materials and the resourcefulness and ease with which one adapts his 
style to the nature of the subject under treatment. 85 As natural talents 
vary with individuals, Liu conceives of eight different styles: first, 
elegant and graceful, or in the style of tien and ya; second, far-ranging 
and profound; third, polished and concise; fourth, lucid and logical; 
fifth, profuse and flowery; sixth, vigorous and beautiful; seventh, fresh 
and extraordinary; and eighth, light and trivial. Few have the genius 
to command all these styles, but many can adapt some style to fit 
their talents. 86 

In the discussion of talents, there is a chapter on "The Wind and 
the Bone," "wind" meaning lyrical, or in the manner of feng, and 
"bone" meaning vigor and strength. Liu says, "He who would express 
mournful emotions must begin with the wind, and to organize his 

83 Ibid., chiian 8, p. 5b. 84 ihid., chiian 2, p. 25a. 

85 Ibid., chiian 6. p. ib. 86 ## #j pp 8 a -8b. 

xlii Introduction 

linguistic elements, he must above all emphasize the bone." 87 The wind 
gives wings to words and the bone gives them vigor and strength. 88 
By the wind and the bone, Liu is talking about what Wei-wen had 
called the breath. His quotation from Wei-wen convinces us that he 
shares with Wei-wen the feeling that genius is born and not made. 89 
But important as genius is, it is only half the story; the other half 
depends on experience and scholarship. It is by means of wide acquaint- 
ance with literary works and extensive experience that one can hope 
to avoid poverty of expression. 90 

Genius operates through imagination, the power of association of 
ideas, and the ability to forge metaphors. The manner in which genius 
operates is such that it cannot be transmitted by instruction. Like I Chih 
who could not inform people how he cooked, and the wheelwright 
Pien who could not tell people how he wielded his ax, so a writer is 
unable to transmit his manner of operation to others. 91 

Liu, in his treatment of metaphor and of the couplet, displays 
remarkable analytical power. His analysis of metaphor includes what 
is now described as onomatopoeia, 92 and his analytical categorization 
of the couplet seems to be the first attempt of its kind. 93 

With his insistence on the importance of real emotions and feelings 
as the foundation of literature, Liu inclines toward spontaneity and 
naturalness. 94 It is not accidental that in the first chapter he traces 
literature to natural patterns and forms. By nature we have seven 
emotions, and these emotions are naturally aroused when affected by 

87 Ibid., pp. I3a-i3b. 88 Ibid., pp. I3b-i4a. 

89 Ibid., p. 13b. Wei-wen-ti, "Tien-lun lun-wen," Wei-wen-ti chi (Han Wei liu-ch'ao 
pai-san ming-chia chi ed., 1892), chiian 1, p. 70a. 

90 Wen-hsin, chiian 6, p. ib. 

91 Wen-hsin, chiian 6, p. 2a. "I Chih" is another name for I Yin. The reference is to 
a passage in Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu where I Yin, in answer to T'ang's question, says: ". . . 
The changes which take place in a cauldron are subtle and delicate, neither expressible 
in words by the mouth nor conceivable by the mind." Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu (Chu-tzu chi- 
ch'eng ed., Shanghai, 1935), chapter on "Pen-wei," chiian 14, pp. 140-1. (Cf. Friihling 
und Herbst des Lit Bu We, translated by R. Wilhelm [Jena, 1928], p. 182.) For the 
Wheelwright Pien, see Chuangtzu, Book XIII, Chapter 10. 

92 Wen-hsin, chiian 8, pp. ia-ib; chiian 10, p. ia. 

93 Ibid., chiian 7, p. 33b. 

94 Ibid., chiian 1, p. ia; chiian 7, ia-iob. 

Introduction xliii 

external circumstances. 95 When thus affected, it is only natural for us 
to try to express our sentiments in winged words. If we follow our 
spontaneous tendency, it will be internal emotions which determine 
the literary forms and styles, and not the external forms which force 
themselves upon our inner feelings. In this spontaneity we shall find 
the unlimited resourcefulness of our spirit. Liu holds that if we should 
in any way work against our nature, in the end we would be exhausted 
and withered up. 96 His chapter on "The Nourishing of Vitality" is a 
lesson in spontaneity, which is apparently based on Chuangtzu. Liu 
shares Chuangtzu's view that to keep one's mind empty and quiet is 
the only way to keep one's vigor forever fresh and sharp as a newly 
honed blade. 97 

Now, in evaluating Liu's position as a classicist, let us see what his 
attitude really is when he talks about the Classics. He eulogizes the 
Classics as the source of all literary genres and maintains a properly 
reverent attitude for the orthodox ideas in them. It is in his evaluation 
of the Classics as literature, however, that he discards all platitudes, 
and waxes warm in true praise. Moreover, in pronouncing Li-sao to be 
a "hero" of poetry, but only a "ruffian" in the realm of ya and sung, 98 
he definitely conceives of poetry as independent of the Shih-ching. In 
reiterating the traditional theory of poetic function and development, 
Liu seems to have done so as a matter of habit rather than as a result 
of conviction. His belief that literature develops in accordance with the 
needs of the times, and that each new age gives literature a new 
emphasis and a fresh point of view is in violent contradiction to tradi- 
tionalism. Poetry must change according to the principle of flexible 
adaptability to new needs of new ages. This principle of adaptability 
to change is enunciated in the same breath with which he advises 
people to go back to the Classics. At the very moment when he exhorts 
men to worship the Classics, he condemns the popular view of depreci- 

95 Ibid., chiian 2, p. ia. Q6 Ibid., chiian 9, pp. 8l>9a. 

97 Ibid., pp. 6b-7b. Cf. Wang Hsien-ch'ien, Chuang-tzu chi-chieh (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng 
ed,), chuan I, Chapter 3, "Yang-sheng-chu," 18-9. (Cf. translations of Chuangtzu, Book 
III, Chapter 2.) 

98 Wen-hsin, chuan 1, p. 29b. 

xliv Introduction 

ating the contemporaries and worshipping the Ancients." From the 
general tenor of his writing, we must conclude that his conservatism 
is a matter of habit, while his progressive ideas rise from convictions. 
He pays lip service to the Classics, but gives his heart to the study of 
elements which are purely literary. And even in treating the Classics, 
he gives them more of a literary appreciation than a moralistic interpre- 
tation. For him, it seems, the Classics are important because they 
possess literary value; he does not believe that literary value depends 
upon conformity to the Classics. 

When he discusses literary elements in the second portion of his 
book, his freedom from classicism is even more surprising. He occupies 
himself almost exclusively with what is purely literary. In the eight 
styles he formulates, only the first style, tien ya> refers to the Shu-chin g 
and the Shih-ching. But as used in his critical judgments on individual 
authors and their works, these terms mean merely "elegant" and 
"graceful." It is, therefore, abundantly clear that whatever he con- 
ceives to be the value of a classical element, this value is only one 
among many other literary values. He brings the Classics down to 
earth for us to admire as works of literature. Such being Liu's literary 
outlook, it would not be far wrong to conclude that in his system 
classicism plays the same role as any other literary element, and thus 
it is not possible to call Liu Hsieh a classicist without doing him 
a grave injustice. 

Liu Hsieh seems to have gathered up in his Wcn-hsin tiao-lung all 
the strands of literary and critical thought which we have discussed 
in the preceding pages. He has apparently read widely, weighing the 
ideas of earlier authors and then formulating his own. Being a great 
writer himself, a past master of the beautiful style of the Six Dynasties 
period, which is characterized by balance in structure, parallelism of 
expressions, and consonance of language, he inspires the reader not 
only by the content of his work, but also by his incomparable style. 

In the chapter on "An Understanding Critic," Liu Hsieh made the 

99 Ibid., chiian 6; compare text on p. 17b and "Eulogy" at the end of the essay on 
p. 1 8a; see also chiian 9, "Shih-hsu," and chiian 10, "chih-ying." 

Introduction xlv 

statement that literary works had to be appreciated to reveal their 
beauty. If we apply this statement to his Wen-hsin tiao-lung, there is 
no doubt about its being one of the most beautiful, because it is one 
of the most admired, of works. During his own day Shen Yiieh, the 
literary lion of his age, kept it within reach on his desk. Liu Chih-chi 
(661-721), the great historiographer of the T'ang dynasty, spoke of him 
in his Shih-t'ung as the arbiter of taste during the Six Dynasties period. 
Huang T'ing-chien (1045-1105), one of the great poets of the Sung, 
considered Liu Chih-chi's Shih-t'ung and Liu Hsieh's Wen-hsin tiao- 
lung two works which all scholars aspiring to be literary writers must 
read. And Hu Ying-lin of the Ming, who flourished in 1590, ranked 
Wen-hsin tiao-lung above Shih-t'ung. 

In the Ch'ing dynasty, the compilers of the Ssu-I(u ch'ilan-shu 
chien-ming mu-lu spoke of Wen-hsin as the first literary critical work 
which contains the essence of literary and rhetorical principles. Chang 
Hsueh-ch'eng (1 738-1 801), another great historiographer, expressed his 
enthusiasm and unbounded admiration for Liu Hsieh's Wen-hsin in 
his Wen-shih t'ung-i, a work which ranks with Liu Chih-chi's Shih- 
t'ung in importance. And Juan Yuan (1 764-1 849) who, because of his 
important official position, was able to make such an important con- 
tribution by fostering scholarship, considered Liu Hsieh the creator 
of literary laws. 

As late as 1941, Fu Tseng-hsiang, a famous bibliographer, said, 
"Wen-hsin tiao-lung deals with the development of literature. It is the 
compass in the literary world, a handbook to all writers and scholars." 100 
Then, in 1946, Fu Keng-sheng in his Chung-\uo wen-hsileh p'i-p'ing 
t'ung-lun said of the Wen-hsin, "Its scope is comprehensive, the ideas 
it contains are subtle and penetrating, and its emphasis is balanced, 
without deviating from the norm. Clear in its definitions and logical 
and systematic in its categorization, it is the greatest literary critical 
work ever produced in the whole history of China." 101 Occasionally 

100 p u Tseng-hsiang, "Hsu Hsin-kung chiao Wen-hsin tiao-lung pa," Ktio-ming cha- 
chih, X, 1 941. 

101 Fu Keng-sheng, Chung-hjio wen-hsileh p'i-p'ing t'ung-lun (Chungking, 1046. and 
Shanghai, 1947). 

xlvi Introduction 

we hear some dissenting note. Ch'ao Kung-wu (flourishing in 1144) 
criticized the factual accuracy of certain statements made by Liu Hsieh. 
But most writers have stood by Liu Hsieh with unswerving faith. 

Before I bring this introduction to a close, I would like to dwell 
briefly on the difficulty involved in a study of Chinese literary criticism 
and how this difficulty may, to a certain extent, be eliminated. One of 
the difficulties is to grasp firmly the meaning of the terms used by 
Chinese writers and critics. In general, all Chinese terms are subject 
to a change of meaning in different contexts; but this is especially true 
in literary criticism. Unless we know exactly what certain terms mean 
in certain contexts, we are at a loss how to interpret them. This diffi- 
culty is increased by the fact that many writers who have not formed 
their thought with any degree of precision take advantage of the con- 
fusion and use the terms with abandon in an effort to deck themselves 
with borrowed elegance. It is true that language is a fluid thing, subject 
to change of meaning in different periods; but for any specific period, 
there must be some kind of agreement as to the several possible 
meanings one term may have — in order to avoid utter chaos. One way 
to get out of this difficult situation is to find a way to define the terms 
by referring to the contexts in which they actually occur — a procedure 
similar to the one I. A. Richards has followed in his studies of Mencius. 
It is my hope that some day I may have an opportunity to devote 
myself to this task. 


by Liu Hsieh 

Preface 1 

The literary mind is that mind which strives after literary forms. In a 
similar sense, Chiian-tzu long ago wrote Ch'ing-hsin (The mind of the 
lute), and Wang-sun wrote Ch'iao-hsin (The artistic mind). 2 What an 
excellent term indeed is "mind!" And because it is, I have used it too. 

And since from time immemorial literature has always been charac- 
terized by certain embellishments, I am not implicating myself in the 
type of "dragon carving" practiced by Tsou Shih and his group. 3 

Now with respect to the universe, it is everlasting and boundless, and 
in it we find people of all types. He who wants to stand out above the 
others must depend on his intelligence. Time is fleeting and life itself 
is transitory. If a man really wants to achieve fame, his only chance 
is to devote himself to writing. In his appearance, man resembles 
heaven and earth, and he is naturally endowed with five talents; his 
ears and eyes are comparable to the sun and moon; his voice and 
breath are like the wind and thunder; yet, as he transcends all things, 
he is really spiritual. His physical form may be as fragile as the grasses 
and trees, but his fame is more substantial than metal and stone. 
Therefore, a man of virtue, in his relationship with the people of the 
world, aims at establishing both his character and his words. So it is 
not that I simply happen to be fond of argument; it is that I cannot 
do otherwise than write. 4 

1 This chapter, in which Liu Hsieh states his reason for the choice of the title and his 
reason for writing the book, originally appeared at the end of the work, according to 
common practice in ancient China. 

2 Both Chiian-tzu 's Ch'ing-hsin and Wang-sun-tzu's Ch'iao-hsin are listed in the 
"I-wen-chih" in the Han-shu. Ch'iao-hsin, also known as Wang-sun-tzu, is listed under 
"Ju-chia," the Confucian School. See Han-shu (Taipei ed., 1956), chiian 30, p. 13b. 
Ch'ing-hsin is listed under "Tao-chia," the Taoist School. See ibid., p. 15b. 

3 The term "Tiao-lung," or carving of dragons, was first used to describe the ornate 
quality of Tsou Shih's writing. The biography of Hsiin Ch'ing in the Shih-chi speaks 
of him as "Tiao-lung Shih." P'ei Yin, in his commentary, quoted Liu Hsiang as saying 
that Tsou Shih's writing was patterned after the ornate style of Tsou Yen, and was like 

the carving of dragons' patterns. Hence he was known as "Tiao-lung Shih." Shih-chi, 
chiian 74, p. 5a. 

4 Paraphrasing Mencius. See Meng-tzu yin-te, 24/3B/9; 25/3B/9. 

4 Preface 

As a child of seven I dreamed of colored clouds like brocaded silk and 
that I climbed up and picked them. When over thirty years of age, 
I dreamed I had in my hand the painted and lacquered ceremonial 
vessels and was following Confucius and travelling toward the south. 
In the morning I awoke happy and deeply at ease. The difficulty of 
seeing the Sage is great indeed, and yet he appeared in the dream 
of an insignificant fellow like me! Since the birth of man there has 
never been anyone like the Master. 5 Now, insofar as I wished to propa- 
gate and praise the teachings of the Sage, nothing would have been 
better than to write commentaries on the Classics. However, Ma, 
Cheng, 6 and others have already given us their penetrating interpreta- 
tions of these Classics. Even if I had had some profound ideas about 
them, it is unlikely that they would have been sufficient to establish 
an independent school. As a matter of fact, the function of wen-change 
or literary writing, is an offshoot of the function of the Classics. The 
Five Rites 7 are accomplished on the basis of literary writing, and the 
Six Government Functions 8 are also performed with its aid. The rela- 
tionship between ruler and ministers is made clear through literary 
writing, and government and military affairs are clearly defined by 
means of it. And if one traces these written documents back to their 
source, it is found to be none other than the Classics themselves. 

However, our time is far removed from that of the Sage, and ortho- 
dox literary style has declined. Tz'u writers love the exotic, and prize 
in their writing that which is superficial and eccentric. They try to 
"decorate the feather" just to be painting and will attempt to embroider 
even the leather handkerchief bag. All these writers deviate greatly 
from their true source in pursuit of the pretentious and the excessive. 
But in the Boo\ of History in the discussion of tz'u, or language, it is 

5 Another paraphrase of Mencius. Ibid., 12/2A/2. 

6 Ma Jung, 79-166; Cheng Hsiian, 127-200. Both are great classical commentators. 

7 See Chou-i yin-te, 3 /19b, commentary. See note 5, Chapter III, for the list of the 
Five Rites. 

8 Chou-i yin-te, 1/9D. They are: Chih (in charge of over-all policy making), chiao 
(in charge of education), //' (in charge of rites), cheng (administration), hsing (law), 
and shift (in charge of public works). 

Preface 5 

said, "In writing one should emphasize the essentials." 9 And when 
Confucius presented his hsiin, or teachings, he showed a dislike for 
unorthodoxy. The uniqueness of the tz'u and the hsiin is due to this 
emphasis on the essential. Therefore, I picked up my brush, mixed the 
ink, and began to write this essay. 

In modern times there are many who discuss literature. But as for 
Wei-wen's Shu-tien, 10 Ch'en-ssu's Hsu-shu, 11 Ying Yang's Wen-lun, 12 
Lu Chi's Wen-fu, 13 Chung-hsia's Liu-pieh, 1 * and Hung-fan's Han- 
lin 15 — each of these reflects a particular corner of the field; few have 
even envisioned the whole open vista. Some praise or belittle the talents 
of their times; some evaluate the works of writers of the past; some 
vaguely distinguish between the graceful and the vulgar style; and 
some summarize the themes of various essays. Wei-wen's Tien-lun is 
detailed but not comprehensive; Ch'en-ssu's letter is argumentative but 
irrelevant; Ying Yang's discussion is flowery but sketchy; Lu Chi's 
Wen-fu is artful but lacks unity; [Chih Yii's] Liu-pieh is fine but 
ineffectual; and Li Ch'ung's Han-lin is shallow and divorced from the 
essentials. There have also been Chiin-shan [or Huan T'an], Kung-kan 
[or Liu Chang], Chi-fu [or Ying Chen], and Shih-lung [or Lu Yun], 
and their group, who discussed literature in vague and general terms; 
although occasionally they produce some creative ideas, they are 
unable to trace back from the leaves to the roots, or back from the tide 
to its source. They fail to transmit the teachings of the earlier sages, 
and are therefore of little help to writers to come. 

In writing the Wen-hsin tiao-lung I attempt in Chapter I to show 

9 See note 19, Chapter II. 

10 Ts'ao P'ei's Tien-lun lun-wen, Wen-hsuan, chiian 52. It is an essay on style, with 
particular reference to the Seven Masters of the Chien-an period, 196-220. 

11 Ts'ao Chih's letter to Yang Te-tsu. See ibid., chiian 42. 

12 See 1-wen lei-chii, chiian 22. 

13 See Wen-hsiian, chiian 17. Wen-fu is available in three English translations: The 
Art of Letters, trans, by E. R. Hughes (New York, 1950); Essay on Literature, trans, 
by Ch'en Shih-hsiang (rev. ed., Portland, 1953); and Rhymeprose, by Archiles Fang, 
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, XIV [1951], 527-66. 

14 Chih Yii's Wen-chang liu-pieh lun. Fragments of it are found in the Ch'iian-chin 
wen, chiian 77. 

15 Li Ch'ung's Han-lin lun. Fragments are found in the Ch'iian-chin wen, chiian 53. 

6 Preface 

how literature has its source in the Tao, in Chapter II how it takes 
its model from the Sage, in Chapter III how it adopts the pattern of 
the Classics, in Chapter IV how it consults the apocryphal writings, and 
in Chapter V how it experiences some changes in the Sao. I have dealt 
with the crucial factors of literature exhaustively here. 

In discussing wen, or writings which are rhymed, in Chapters V 
to XIII, and pi, unrhymed writings, in Chapters XVI to XXV, I have 
classified them into separate genres and traced each genre back to its 
source in order to make clear its development, and I have defined a 
number of literary terms in order to clarify their meaning. I have 
selected several literary works for treatment under each specific topic, 
and have advanced arguments to demonstrate their unity. Thus in the 
first part of the book a clear general outline is presented. 

In the analysis of emotions and their literary expressions, I have 
sought in Chapters XXXI and XXXII to determine their scope system- 
atically. I have elaborated on the theme of creative thinking in Chapter 

XXVI, and dealt with the relation between style and nature in Chapter 

XXVII. I have analyzed lyricism in Chapter XXVIII, and explained 
how to choose the proper style in Chapter XXX. I have developed the 
principle of flexible adaptability to changing requirements in Chapter 
XXIX, and looked into the use of musical patterns in Chapter XXXIII 
and the choice of words in Chapter XXXIV. The theme of literary de- 
velopment is treated in Chapter XLV, entitled "Shih-hsu," or "Literary 
Development and Time," and my own evaluation of several literary 
talents is presented in Chapter XLVII entitled "Ts'ai-liieh," or "Literary 
Talents." In Chapter XLVIII, entitled "Chih-yin," or "An Understand- 
ing Critic," I express my sad disappointment; and in Chapter XLIX, 
entitled "Ch'eng-ch'i," or "Capacity of a Vessel," I set forth my impartial 
verdict on the characters of several literary writers. In this "Hsu-chih," 
or "Preface," are contained the ideas which sum up all the succeeding 
chapters. Thus in the second part, from Chapter XXVI on, the sub- 
topics are made clear in all their details. The postulation of principles 
and definition of terms are shown in the number of the Great Change; 

Preface 7 

but only forty-nine chapters are employed for the elucidation of 
literature. 16 

It is easy to evaluate and discuss a specific work of literature, but 
rather difficult to deal comprehensively and critically with all literary 
works. Some of them may have forms as light as fur and hair, but yet 
have content deeper than bone and marrow. There are also works 
without number whose ideas are implicit rather than explicit and 
whose source is hidden, neither ideas nor sources being directly ex- 
pressed in words. In appearance they may look commonplace, but they 
are in fact very profound. As for my evaluation and ranking of the 
existing literary works, some of my conclusions are the same as those 
of former writers. It is not that I copied them, but that it is impossible 
to differ from them. And if some of my judgments differ from previous 
ones, it is not that I seek difference for its own sake, but that there 
are certain reasons why I must differ. But whether identical to or 
different from previous judgments, mine have not been influenced by 
either the modern or the ancient critics. My sole purpose has been to 
dissect the muscles and trace the veins of literature and endeavor to 
discover the proper standard. As for my achievement in coursing 
through the hunting grounds of literature and looping reins in the 
palace of rhetoric, I think my work is as exhaustive as can be expected. 

However, words do not completely express ideas; 17 it is difficult even 
for the Sage to find it otherwise. If one's knowledge is by nature 
limited to the capacity of a jar or a tube, how can he be expected to 
offer all the general principles? Although my critical hearing has 

16 The total number of chapters of the book is fifty. As one chapter is a preface, only 
forty-nine chapters are actually concerned with literature. In the Boo\ of Changes, we 
find the statement: "The number of the Great Operation is fifty; but only forty-nine 
are actually used." Chon-i yin-te, 42/Hsi shang/8. The operation refers to the process 
of divination, which is described in the 1-ching or Book, of Changes, the Richard Wilhelm 
translation rendered into English by Cary F. Baynes (BollLngen Series XIX, New York, 
Pantheon Books, Inc., 1955), I, 333-36. (All subsequent citations to the 1-ching will be 
to this edition.) The numbers fifty and forty-nine refer to the number of yarrow stalks. 
The diviner begins with fifty yarrow stalks, but actually he uses only forty-nine. Some 
scholars believe that "the number of the Great Change" ["Ta-i chih-shu"] should be 
read as "the number of the Great Operation" ["Ta-yen chih-shu"]. 

17 Chou-i yin-te, 44/Hsi shang/12. 

8 Preface 

been cleansed by the unlimited experience of past writers, how can I 
be sure that the unseen coming generations will not look upon this 
heritage of mine as dust? 

The Tsan: 
Life is limited; 

Wisdom alone is without bound. 
The pursuit of external things is difficult, 

But one will easily succeed if he works in accord with his own nature. 
Resolute, like a boulder in a creek I stand 
Absorbed in the contemplation of literature. 
If literature is truly a vehicle for the mind, 18 
My mind has found a place to rest. 

L On Tao, the Source 

Wen, 1 or pattern, is a very great power indeed. It is born together 
with heaven and earth. Why do we say this? Because all color-patterns 
are mixed of black and yellow, 2 and all shape-patterns are differentiated 
by round and square. 3 The sun and moon like two pieces of jade 
manifest the pattern of heaven; mountains and rivers in their beauty 

18 See note 5, Chapter VI. 

1 The term "wen" has no simple English equivalent. As it is used here at the outset 
of the treatise, it signifies a wide variety of patterns that envelop all aspects of the 
universe. The fact that each aspect has its own particular pattern seems to have struck 
Liu Hsieh with great force. The use of a single term to cover all these different patterns 
suggests that in Liu's mind the presence of some kind of pattern is the common feature 
of all aspects of the universe. 

2 Conventionally, black is the color of heaven, and yellow the color of earth. See the 
Book, of Changes, "Wen-yen," under Hexagram K'un; Chou-i yin-te (Peking, 1935), 
4/2/yen. Taken together, black and yellow are used as a synecdoche to represent all 
colors. Synecdoche, the trope in which a part is used to stand for the whole, is often 
employed in Chinese writings. 

3 Another synecdoche: square, the conventional shape of the earth, and round, the 
conventional shape of heaven, are taken together to mean all shapes. 

On Tao, the Source 9 

display the pattern of earth. These are, in fact, the wen of Tao itself. 
And as one sees above the sparkling heavenly bodies, and below the 
manifold forms of earth, there is established a difference between high 
and low estate, giving rise to the two archetypal Forms. 4 Man, and 
man alone, forms with these the Great Trinity, and he does so because 
he alone is endowed with spirituality. He is the refined essence of the 
five elements — indeed, the mind of the universe. 

Now with the emergence of mind, language is created, and when 
language is created, writing appears. This is natural. When we 
extend our observations, we find that all things, both animals and 
plants, have patterns of their own. Dragons and phoenixes portend 
wondrous events through the picturesqueness of their appearance, and 
tigers and leopards recall the individuality of virtuous men in their 
striped and spotted variegation. 5 The sculptured colors of clouds sur- 
pass paintings in their beauty, and the blossoms of plants depend on no 
embroiderers for their marvellous grace. Can these features be due 
to external adornment? No, they are all natural. Furthermore, the 
sounds of the forest wind blend to produce melody comparable to that 
of a reed pipe or lute, and the music created when a spring strikes 
upon a rock is as melodious as the ringing tone of a jade instrument 
or bell. Therefore, just as when nature expresses itself in physical 
bodies there is plastic pattern, so also, when it expresses itself in sound, 
there is musical pattern. Now if things which are devoid of conscious- 
ness express themselves so extremely decoratively, can that which is 
endowed with mind lack a pattern proper to itself? 

Human pattern originated in the Supreme, the Ultimate. 6 "Mysteri- 
ously assisting the gods," 7 the images of the Changes 8 are the earliest 

4 Referring to the two principles, yin and yang. The former is feminine, passive, and 
earthly; the latter is masculine, active, and celestial. 

5 A conventional association. See Chou-i yin-te, 30-31/49/5 hsiang. 

6 A reference to a statement in the Boof{ of Changes, "There is in the Changes the 
Supreme Ultimate," Chou-i yin-te, 43/Hsi, shang/n (12). The English version of 
Richard Wilhelm's German translation renders "T'ai-chi" as "the Great Primal Begin- 
ning." See / Ching, I, 342. 

7 Chou-i yin-te 49/Shuo/i. 

8 The Boo\ of Changes is originally a book on divination. With the addition of later 
commentaries, the ten wings, and particularly the "Hsi-ts'u," it becomes a philosophical 

io On Tao, the Source 

expressions of this pattern. Pao Hsi 9 began [the Boo\ of Changes] by 
drawing [the eight trigrams], and Confucius completed it by writing 
the "Wings." 10 [One of these Wings], the "Wen-yen" or "Words with 
Pattern," was written especially to explain the "Ch'ien" and the 
"K'un." 11 Words with pattern indeed express the mind of the universe! 
From Ho-t'u, the Yellow River Map, were born the eight trigrams, 
and from Lo-shu, the Writing from the River Lo, 12 came the nine 
categories. 13 For these and for the fruits contained in the jade and 
gold decorated tablets and the flowers blooming in red words and 
green strips 14 was any one responsible? No. They are natural, organic 
expressions of the Divine. 

When birds' markings replaced knotted cords, writing first 
emerged. 15 The facts about Yen and Hao are recorded in the San-fen, 16 

work of great importance. Many translations have been made, among which the English 
one by James Legge and the German one by Richard Wilhelm are the best known. 
References in these notes are to the English translation by Cary F. Baynes of the Wilhelm 
German translation. 

The main text is composed of 64 hexagrams, each of which contains six lines. 
Commentaries, or "judgments" on these hexagrams and lines were attributed to 
King Wen. 

9 Better known as Fu Hsi, one of the three legendary Huang, or Emperors, identified 
as T'ai Hao in the Pai-hu-t'ung. See Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Shih-chi, "San-huang chi." 

10 See note 47, "Introduction." 

11 There are sixty-four hexagrams in the Boo\ of Changes, of which Ch'ien and K'un 
are the most important two, treated at the beginning of the Book. "Wen-yen" is one 
of the ten "Wings," sometimes rendered as "Words," attributed by early scholars to 
Confucius, who devoted it to the explanation of the first two hexagrams because of 
their special significance. The term "wen" used here is the same "wen" used to designate 
"pattern." Since "Wen-yen" was supposedly from the pen of Confucius, Liu Hsieh seems 
to have authority for attaching importance to the term "wen." 

12 Shang-shu Chung-hou wo ho chi, an apocryphal work, quoted by Ma Kuo-han in 
the l-shu, is reported to have contained the statement, "A dragon in the Yellow River 
presented the Map, and a tortoise in the Lo River carried the Writing. These, with red 
words and green characters, were given to Hsiian-yiian" (the Yellow Emperor). 

13 Chou-i yin-te, 44 /Hsi, shang/11. For the "nine categories," see "Hung Fan" in the 
Boo\ of History. For the "Map" and the "Writing" see l-ching, I, 332-33. 

14 Jade tablets, red words, and green characters appear quite frequently in apocryphal 
writings purporting to supplement by elaboration the ideas advanced in the Classics. 
These writings were the works of the Han scholars. 

15 Hsu Shen, the first important Chinese lexicographer, said in the preface to his 
Shuo-wen, the first dictionary, that Ts'ang Chieh began to write on the basis of the 
markings of birds and animals. Hence by "birds' markings" is meant writing. 

16 San-fen and Wu-tien are mentioned in Tso-chuan, under the 12th year of Duke 
Chao; they were taken to mean the records of the three Huang and the five Emperors. 

On Tao, the Source II 

but since they took place in such a distant past, their sound and color 
are beyond our ken. It was during the T'ang and the Yu reigns that 
writing really began to flourish. The "Ode to the Chief" 17 is the first 
expression of poetic sentiment, and the narrative account of "I-chi" set 
a precedent for future memorials. Then the House of Hsia arose, with 
its lofty achievements and great merits. "The nine regulated accom- 
plishments were written into songs," 18 and the House became still 
richer in attainments and virtue. 

By the time of the Shang and the Chou, literary form surpassed its 
substance. The contents of the "Ya" and the "Sung" 19 shine fresher 
daily in their flowery brilliance. When King Wen was in trouble, his 
oracular judgments glowed bright; 20 couched in rich and cryptic 
language, they contain subtle meanings, solidly grounded and pro- 
found. And Tan, the versatile Duke of Chou, gloriously surpassed even 
these achievements by writing poetry and compiling the "Sung," 
improving the literary qualities of all writing. Our Master [Confucius], 
standing without peer among the early masters, continued this tradi- 
tion of the sages of the past. The six Classics, since he has cast and 
molded them, ring out the resonant music of bronze and jade; they 
present the refined principles chiseling human emotions and nature, 
as they furnish outlines for all literary forms. The clapping of his 
wooden bell 21 was answered for one thousand li around, and his influ- 
ence will find an echo ten thousand years from now. He expresses in 
literary form the light of the universe, and opens the ears and eyes 
of all the people. 

17 In the section entitled "I-chi" in the Boof^ of History. 

18 Quoted from "Ta-yii mu" in the Boo/{ of History, where the nine accomplishments 
refer to the regulation of the six treasures, water, fire, metal, wood, earth, and grain, and 
the three businesses, the rectification of the people's character, the conveniences of life, 
and the securing of an abundant livelihood. See Legge, The Chinese Classics, Pt. II, Bk. 
II, Ch. II, 7, p. 56. 

19 Two of the three sections in the Boo\ of Poetry, containing poetry of the upper 
classes and ceremonial or sacrificial songs respectively. 

20 The judgments on the hexagrams and lines were attributed to King Wen, who was 
said to have written these when he was imprisoned by the ruler of the Shang. 

21 Confucius was compared to a wooden bell, sounding warning to the people. See 
"Pa-i" in the Analects. 

12 On Tao, the Source 

From the time of Master Feng 22 to the time of Confucius, both 
Feng, the first sage, who invented writing, and the "King Without 
Crown," 23 who transmitted the teachings, drew their literary embellish- 
ments from the mind of Tao, and both taught by reference to divine 
principles. Both took images from the Yellow River Map and the 
Lo River Writing, and both divined by means of milfoil stems and 
tortoise shells. Both observed heavenly patterns in order to comprehend 
their changes exhaustively, and both studied human patterns of 
behavior in order to transform them. It was in this way that they 
were able to legislate for the universe 24 and to establish the principles 
governing human society, to achieve gloriously in fact, as well as to 
beautify literary forms and ideas. From these things we know that Tao 
is handed down in writing through sages, and that sages make Tao 
manifest in their writings. This principle may be extended to all 
things without difficulty, day after day, without exhausting its applica- 
tions. The Boo\ of Changes says, "The stimulation of all celestial 
movements depends upon the oracular judgments," 25 and their power 
to stimulate the celestial world is derived from the pattern of Tao. 

The Tsan: 26 
The mind of Tao is subtle, 27 

22 A commentator on the Li-chi (Book of rites) in connection with a passage in the 
"Yueh-ling" (Monthly guide for a ruler) gives Feng as the surname of Fu Hsi. 

23 "King Without Crown," a title given to Confucius by scholars — particularly scholars 
of the New-script School during the Han and Wei periods, who held that Confucius, 
with his virtue, should rule, although actually he did not. 

24 This idea of legislation on a cosmic scale need not be surprising; Immanuel Kant 
speaks of the mind as the legislator of the universe; and a Sung philosopher, Chang Tsai, 
aimed at establishing the Mind of the Universe. 

25 Chou-i yin-te, 44/Hsi, shang/12; 1-ching, I, 348. The term rendered here as "judg- 
ments" is "tz'u," which means also term, statement, or proposition. Liu Hsieh seems to 
have capitalized on this ambiguous association of these different meanings of the term 
to facilitate his moving from the importance of the oracle judgments to the significance 
of linguistic form. 

26 The Tsan, as used in this work, is a form of rhymed poetry with four-word lines, 
treated by the author himself in Chapter 9, where he says that its functions are to assist 
in the explanation of the subject, to pass value judgments on the subject, and to give a 
summary of the subject treated. 

27 Quoted from "Ta-yii mu" in the Book, of History; this chapter has been proved to 
be a forgery, a fact not known to Liu Hsieh. Hsiintzu, in his chapter "Chieh-pi" (On 

Evidence from the Sage 13 

And it is taught through divine principles. 

Glory to the first sage, 

Who made articulate the principles of love and filial piety. 

The Map the dragon carried presents the substance, 

And the Writing the tortoise brought makes manifest the form 

Here may be seen the patterns of heaven 

Which serve all people as models. 

//. Evidence from the Sage 

The creative man is called a sage; the man who transmits, an 
understanding scholar. 1 To cultivate human nature and emotions is 
the mission of the great Sage. "The literary form of the teaching of 
the Master is available to us"; 2 — we have the sentiments of the Sage 
expressed in writing. The wise teachings of former kings are recorded 
on wooden and bamboo strips, and the graceful expressions of the 
Master overflow in his aphorisms. 3 When praising the ancient T'ang 
dynasty [when literature first began to flourish], he described [its ruler 
Yao] as brilliant and great [in mastery of literary form]; 4 he also 
praised the contemporary Chou [when literary form surpassed its 
substance], calling its culture rich and worthy of adoption. 5 This shows 
us what importance Confucius attached to literary form in government 
and education. When the Earl of Cheng entered Ch'en, Confucius 

prejudice), quoted lines which differ from those found in the Boo\ of History in only 
one insignificant particle from a Tao-ching. The Tao-ching was interpreted by the com- 
mentators on the Hsiintzu as an ancient work on moral principles. 

1 See Li-chi yin-te (Peking, 1937), 19/3. 

2 Lun-yti yin-te (Peking, 1940), 8/5/13, where Tzu Kung stated that the Master's 
literary form might be heard while his doctrine on nature and the way of heaven is 
hardly ever touched upon. 

3 Referring to Lun-yii, the Analects. 

4 Lun-yti yin-te, 15/8/19, where Confucius is recorded to have said of Yao, "brilliant 
with literary form." 

■JMf, 5/3/14. 

14 Evidence from the Sage 

believed that it was his mastery of rhetoric which brought him success. 6 
And when the people of Sung entertained [Wen-tzu from Chao] by 
preparing a formal feast, Confucius commended them for the observ- 
ance of proper ceremony shown in their attention to the language 
they used. 7 This shows us what importance Confucius attached to 
literary form in practical affairs. In praising Tzu-ch'an, Confucius 
said, "His words are adequate for the expression of his ideas, and his 
literary forms are adequate to ornament his words," 8 and in his general 
discussion of a superior man he said, "One should be truthful in one's 
sentiments, but also masterly in expression." 9 This shows us what 
importance Confucius attached to literary form in self-cultivation. 
Ideas adequately expressed by words combined into literary forms — 
sincere sentiments embodied in masterly expressions: these are the 
touchstones of literary composition. 

Our Master was as discerning as the sun and the moon, 10 and as 
sublime as the spiritual working of the universe. His literary forms 
are perfect examples and his ideas are perfectly coherent. Sometimes 
he employs only a few words to convey an idea, and sometimes he 
indulges in a comprehensive discussion of all his sentiments. Sometimes 
he reveals the nature of a thing by pointing out the pattern it exhibits, 
and sometimes he implies the function of it through cryptic innuendo. 
In the Spring and Autumn he uses one word to express both praise 
and censure and in "San-fu" he expresses a greater category under 
the form of a lesser. 11 These illustrate his expression of an idea in a 
few words. In the "Pin" lyrics we find many verses with many lines 
each, and in "Ju-hsing" there are long discussions and ornate rhetoric. 12 
These illustrate his indulgence in comprehensive discussions of all his 
sentiments. Writing chiefly characterized by critical judgment he 

6 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te (Peking, 1937), 307/Hsiang 25/7 Tso fu 2. 

7 Ibid., 316/Hsiang 27/5 Tso. 8 See note 6. 
*Li-chi, 32/26. 

10 The sun and the moon have traditionally been considered to see as well as to 
illuminate all they shine upon. 

11 Application of the principle involved in a fortiori reasoning. 

12 Confucius was assumed to be the author of the Boo\ of Poetry, of which "Pin-feng" 
(lyrics from the Pin region) is a section. "Ju-hsing" is a chapter in the Li-chi. 

Evidence from the Sage 15 

symbolizes by the hexagram l(uai [which means "to judge"], 13 and 
writing chiefly characterized by logical clarity he symbolizes by the 
hexagram li [which stands for fire and the sun]. 14 These illustrate how 
he reveals the nature of a thing by pointing out the pattern it exhibits. 
In the Four Images 15 there is profound meaning which is delicate and 
cryptic, and in the Five Illustrations 16 the language is connotative, 
implicative. These illustrate how he implies the function of a thing 
through cryptic innuendo. 

From all these examples we can see how literary pieces differ in their 
form, some being diffuse and others concise; and we see also that they 
vary in their method of presentation, which is sometimes veiled 
[suggestive, evocative], and sometimes lucid. The choice of either 
method must depend on the occasion, remaining flexibly adaptable to 
all changing circumstances. If one looks for examples in the writing 
of the Duke of Chou and of Confucius, he will have obtained models 
for his literary compositions. In discussing questions, one must seek 
the guidance of the sages, and in one's efforts to understand the sages, 
one must make the Classics one's teachers. 17 

The Boo\ of Changes says, "When things have been correctly dis- 
tinguished and the language expressing them has been made accurate, 
then decisive judgments are complete." 18 And the Boo^ of History says, 
"In the choice of language one should emphasize the essential and 
should not indulge in the extraordinary." 19 So we know that the way 
to establish significant distinctions is by using language accurately; and 
the way to perfect writing is to emphasize the essential. If the writing 

13 Chou-i yin-te, 46/Hsi, hsia/2. K'uai is hexagram 43, meaning to distinguish, hence 
to judge. 

14 Li is hexagram 30. 

15 Chou-i, 44/Hsi, shang/n. There are many interpretations regarding the Four 
Images. The following is Shao Yung's interpretation: yin or feminine principle, yang or 
male principle, Kang or strength, and jou or softness. 

16 See Tu Yu's Ch'un-ch'iu Tso-chuan hsii, where the Five Illustrations are given: 
(1) subtle although apparent; (2) full of meaning although unassuming; (3) pursuasive 
although objective; (4) exhaustive but well-knit; and (5) both admonishing and 

17 Reading with a handwritten version quoted by Sun Tjang in his Cha-i. 

18 Chou-i yin-te, 48/Hsi, hsia/5. 

19 Shang-shu t'ung-chien (Peking, 1936), 44/0218-0225. 

16 Evidence from the Sage 

is thus perfect, there will be no danger of succumbing to the love of 
the extraordinary; and if significant distinctions are thus established, 
decisive judgments will emerge. The fact that profound ideas may 
be obscure will not mean that the language is not accurate; and the 
fact that the subtlety of a thing's expression may merely connote or 
imply meaning will not mean that the essential element is not stressed : 
the essential element and the subtlety of the expression will be achieved 
together; and accurate language and profound ideas will coexist. We 
may observe these literary accomplishments in the works of the sages. 
Yen Ho spoke of Confucius as "decorating feathers by painting them ; 
futilely employing florid language." 20 But in his deprecation of the Sage 
he fails. The literary works of the Sage owe their grace and beauty 
to the fact that they are full of both flowers and fruits. Even in the 
case of the Way of Heaven [the obscure doctrine which the Master's 
disciples themselves] hardly heard of, 21 we still try to find it out; in 
the case of the literary forms which are accessible to us, should we 
neglect to study these? No, for if one would follow the example of the 
Sage in organizing his writing, his literary efforts would almost 
certainly be rewarded with success. 

The Tsan: 
Superbly divine, he [Confucius] was born with knowledge; 22 
Sagacious and wise, he ruled supreme. 
Profound reason shapes his literary theme, 

And his breath, full of talent, weaves itself into exquisite patterns. 
His discernment is comparable to that of the sun and the moon, 
And his expressions contain more wealth than mountains and seas. 
Though his shadow faded within a hundred years, 
After a thousand ages his mind still shines. 

20 Chuang-tzu yin-te, 89/32/27. 

21 See note 2. 

22 Lun-yii yin-te, 34/16/9, where Confucius speaks of three kinds of men, distinguished 
by three ways of possessing knowledge: the highest type is he who is born with knowl- 
edge; next comes he who obtains it through learning; and lowest is he who slaves 
to get it. 

///. The Classics as Literary Sources 

The works dealing with the universal principles of the Great Trinity 
[heaven, earth, and man] are known as ching?- By ching we mean an 
expression of the absolute or constant Tao or principle, that great 
teaching which is unalterable. Therefore, the ching faithfully reflect 
heaven and earth, spirits and gods. They help to articulate the order 
of things and to set up the rules governing human affairs. In them is 
found both the secret of nature and spirit and the very bone and 
marrow of fine literature. 

First came the San-fen of the Three Sovereigns, followed by Wu-tien 
of the five emperors, Pa-so and Chiu-ch'iu. 2 As years passed, this main 
stream developed a great welter of branches and side-eddies. But 
after our Master edited and handed down this material, those great 
treasures, the Classics, began to shine through. The Boo\ of Changes 
spread out its ten Wings, or Commentaries. The Boo\ of History 
displayed its seven Views. 3 The Boo\ of Poetry listed the four begin- 
nings. 4 The Boo\ of Rites described the five kinds of Rites. 5 And the 
Spring and Autumn presented the Five Illustrations. 6 

Here are principles which are absolute in regard to human nature 
and emotions, and here is language which conforms to the best literary 

1 Ching is rendered into English as "classics" in the sense that they have stood the 
test of time and are universal and constant. 

2 See K'ung An-kuo's "Shang-shu hsu," where the Pa-so is said to be about the eight 
trigrams, and the Chiu-ch'iu geographical accounts of the nine continents. 

3 In the Shang-shu ta-chuan, the Boo\ of History is divided into seven sections, and 
through each section one is able to view one quality. These are: righteousness, benevo- 
lence, sincerity, capacity, affairs, good government, and beauty. 

* There are several interpretations of these four beginnings. In the "Mao shih-hsii," 
the four beginnings mean "Feng," "Ta-ya," "Hsiao-ya," and "Sung." Cheng Hsiian 
commented, "By shih or the beginning is meant that by way of which the kingly way 
prospers and declines." Another view is expressed in "K'ung-tzu shih-chia" (the biog- 
raphy of Confucius) in the Shih-chi (The historical records): "Kuan-chii" is the 
beginning of the "Feng," "Lu-ming" the beginning of the "Hsiao-ya," "Wen-wang" 
the beginning of the "Ta-ya," and "Ch'ing-miao" the beginning of the "Sung." 

5 The Five Rites are: for sacrifice, for melancholy occasions, for hospitality, for military 
ceremonies, and for auspicious occasions. 

6 See note 16, Chapter II. 

1 8 The Classics as Literary Sources 

principles. As a consequence the ching can unfold the student's under- 
standing and cultivate in him the proper principles; their "light shines 
far and wide." 7 

The mind of Tao is subtle, and the thinking of the Sage transcendent: 
when the walls and eaves are many and high, breathing is naturally 
deep: a bell of ten thousand weights will not ring out petty sounds. 

The Boo\ of Changes deals with T'ien; it has penetrated the divine 
order, to fulfill itself fruitfully. 8 Accordingly, the "Hsi-tz u" 9 says that 
it has boundless implications, its critical judgments are of high literary 
quality, its language is accurate, and its symbolism deep : 10 "The leather 
cords broke three times" 11 — what a profound source of ideas this has 
proved to be for the Sage! 

The Boo\ of History truthfully records what has been spoken. 12 
Although the terms used are hard to understand, if one masters the 
Erh-ya 13 the ideas will be comprehensible. Tzu-hsia, [a disciple of 
Confucius who specialized in literature], in his praise of the Boo\ of 
History calls it "brilliant as the light of the sun and the moon and 
orderly as the configurations of the stars," 14 which testifies to its clarity. 

The purpose of the Boo\ of Poetry is to express feelings and senti- 
ments. The terms used in it are to be studied in the same way as those 
used in the Boo\ of History. The way the lyrics are written and the 
metaphors forged, the way the theses are embellished and the parables 
contrived, create an effect of warmth and tenderness when these poems 
are recited, an effect which deeply moves the heart. 

The Boo\ of Rites aims at the establishment of traditions. It formu- 
lates the basic principles governing social customs. The principles and 

7 A line quoted from the Book, of Poetry, Mao-shih yin-te, 63/247/3. 

8 Chou-i yin-te, 46/Hsi, hsia/3: "The profound idea has entered the divine state for 
the purpose of bringing about its fruitful functioning." 

9 Ibid., 48/Hsi, hsia/5. 

10 Ibid., 48/Hsi, hsia/5: "The meanings are far-reaching, the judgments are well 
ordered. The words are roundabout but they hit the mark. Things are openly set forth, 
but they contain also a deeper secret." I-ching, I, 370. 

11 Quoted from "K'ung-tzu shih-chia," the biography of Confucius, in the Shih-chi. 

12 The Han-shu, "I-wen chih": "The historian on the left records what is spoken." 

13 A dictionary of terms used in the Classics arranged according to meanings. 

14 Quoted from the Shang-shu ta-chuan. 

The Classics as Literary Sources 19 

corollaries are subtle and oblique, and become clear only through 
practical application. Every single phrase selected from it is a treasure. 

The Spring and Autumn is characterized by its clear reasoning. 
Reason may appear in the choice of a single word. "Five meteorites" 
and "Six fishhawks" 15 are two examples of a pattern of composition 
marked by a thoroughness in reasoning. In the case of "The Chih 
gate and the two gates," 16 reason appears in the order: precedence and 
sequence. To be so subtle and yet so apparent, so full of meaning yet 
so unassuming, is to be genuinely profound. 17 

In the case of the Boo\ of History, its language may appear strange 
to the reader, but when he looks for its ruling principles he will find 
them indicated very clearly. In the case of the Spring and Autumn, its 
language may seem readily understandable, but when the reader seeks 
the meaning of it he begins to realize its depth. These two works 
illustrate different patterns of writing from the hands of sages, as well 
as different methods of approach, objective and subjective. 18 

15 Ch'un-ch'iu Ching-chuan yin-te, in/Hsi 16/1. "There were falling meteorites in 
the state of Sung, five in number. . . . And there were six fishhawks flying backward 
over the capital of Sung." Commentary by Kung-yang says: "Why is 'falling' first 
mentioned and then 'meteorites'? It is because this was a record about what one heard. 
First one heard the sound of falling. Looking at them, he found them to be meteorites. 
After a closer observation he discovered them to be five in number. Why is the number 
'six' first mentioned and then 'fishhawks'? Because in the case of 'the six fishhawks flying 
backward' it was a record about what one saw. Looking at them, one found them to be 
six in number. Looking closer, he saw them to be fishhawks. After watching them at 
leisure, he discovered them to be flying backward." For these reasons, the Spring and 
Autumn is held to be logical, that is, a work characterized by reason. 

16 Ch'un-ch'iu Ching-chuan yin-te, 439/Ting 2/2 Kung-yang. "Chih gate and the two 
gates were destroyed by fire." "Chih gate" is the south gate of the royal palace, and 
the two gates are those outside the Chih gate where proclamations are posted. Chih gate 
is apparently more important than the two gates. The commentary by Kung-yang says: 
"Why does the record say 'Chih gate and the two gates were destroyed by fire'? It is 
because the two gates were not important. Why then does it not say Chih gate was 
destroyed by fire and the fire was extended to the two gates? It is because it was the 
two gates which were [first] destroyed by fire. Then why is it mentioned last? It is 
because [the historian] did not wish to proceed from the less important to the more 

17 See note 16, Chapter II. 

18 The whole section beginning with the line "The Boo\ of Changes deals with 
Tien" to this point is taken verbatim from Wang Ts'an's writing without acknowl- 
edgement by Liu Hsieh. However, such a practice was quite common in the early times, 
and should not be considered as plagiarism. Wang's writing is found in both l-wen 

20 The Classics as Literary Sources 

These Classics have deep roots and luxuriant branches and foliage. 
The language is concise but the content is meaningful; the facts are 
commonplace, but their metaphorical implications are unlimited. So, 
although they are ancient, their flavor remains fresh. Later scholars 
take them up and do not feel that they have become outmoded; scholars 
in the past long used them and never felt that they were ahead of 
their times. They may be compared to Mount T'ai, which waters all the 
lands about, or to the Yellow River, which moistens one thousand li. 

Thus, the Boo\ of Changes originates the lun or discursive, shuo or 
argumentative, tzu or oracular, and hsu or prefatory forms of writing. 
The Boo\ of History is the source of the chao or decree, the ts'e or 
edict, the chang or memorial expressing thanks, and the tsou or gen- 
eral memorial. Fu or narrative poetry, sung or sacrificial poetry, \e or 
folk song, and tsan or eulogy have their foundations in the Boo\ of 
Poetry. Ming or inscription, lei or elegy, chen or admonition, and chu 
or prayer have their beginnings in the Boo\ of Rites. And chi or 
chronicle, chuan or biography, meng or oath 19 and hsi or proclama- 
tion have their roots in the Spring and Autumn. All these Classics have 
reached great heights in establishing standards; they have also opened 
up vast new vistas. So that no matter how writers may leap and bound, 
they must eventually come home to the fold of the Classics. One may 
pattern his writing after the classical forms or enrich his diction by 
studying the Boo\ of Poetry [with the same confidence with which] 
one may depend on a mountain's copper ores to suffice for coinage, or 
rely on sea water to make salt when boiled. 

If one's writings were based on the Classics, his style would be 
especially distinguished by one of the following characteristics: deep 
feeling untainted by artificiality, unmixed purity of form, empirical 
truth untarnished by falsehood, moral ideas uninvolved in perversity, 
simple style free from verbosity, and literary beauty unmarred by 
excesses. Master Yang compared [the writing of the Classics] to the 

Lei-chu, 38, and T'ai-p'ing yii-lan, 608. For a discussion of this practice of borrowing 
from other authors see Chang Hsiieh-ch'eng's Wen-shih t'ung-i, "Shuo-lin." 
19 Reading ming as meng with the T'ang hand-written version. 

Emendation of Apocrypha 21 

carving of jade into vessels, his idea being that literary pattern is 
innate in the five Classics. 20 

A man wins his mastery of literature through the excellence of his 
character, and his character is manifested in his literary excellence. 
In literature, first among the four elements of instruction, 21 both 
symbol and colorful pattern assist each other to teach. No one who 
aims at the improvement of his moral character and the establishment 
of his name fails to go to the Sage for his model; but when one develops 
an interest in a career of literature and rhetoric, he seldom realizes 
that he too should take the Classics as his starting point. The poetry 
of Ch'u has alluring charm and the poetic prose of Han is extravagant; 
but both are deviant forks which never return to the main stream. 
Would it not be a good thing to curb the tendency to deviate by 
returning to the source? 

The Tsan: 
The universal principles governing the Great Trinity 
Are embodied in profound teachings and ancient learning. 
To achieve transformation in order to return to the One, 
These teachings are divided into five. 

The five Classics are art masters moulding human nature and spirit, 
And the great treasure house of literature, 
Unfathomable and lustrous, 
The Source of all literary forms. 

IV. Emendation of Apocrypha 

The Divine Way is plain and yet hidden; the Mandate of Heaven is 
subtle and yet manifest. 1 

20 See chapter on "Kua-chien" in his Fa-yen. 

21 Lun-yu yin-te, 13/7/25: "The master taught wen [literature], hsing [character], 
chung [loyalty], and hsin [trustworthiness]." 

1 The Divine Way and the Mandate of Heaven: the subject matter of the apocrypha. 
The apocrypha also claim to explain the Classics. 

22 Emendation of Apocrypha 

Following the emergence of the horse-dragon, there developed the 
Boo\ of Changes-, 2 and with the appearance of the divine tortoise, the 
"Hung-fan" saw the light of day. 3 For this reason, "Hsi-tz'u" says: 
"From the Yellow River comes the diagram and from the River Lo 
comes the Book, and these the Sage followed as principles." 4 However, 
it has been so long ago, and records are so obscure, that a body of 
strange and fantastic literature has developed around these Diagrams 
and this Book. Although some truth is preserved by this apocryphal 
literature, its existence has permitted falsehood to creep in. 

The six Classics are lucid and articulate, but the apocrypha [which 
have been attached to them] are disorganized and redundant; the 
Boo\ of Filial Piety and the Analects are distinct and clear, but their 
apocrypha are profuse and chaotic. If we examine the apocrypha in 
the light of the Classics, we shall discover four proofs that their claims 
to authenticity are false. First, inasmuch as the apocrypha claim to 
complement the Classics, they bear to the Classics the same relation- 
ship that the woof bears to the warp in weaving. Now, only when 
the silk and hemp are not mixed with each other may one succeed in 
making either hempen cloth or silken fabric. But the Classics are 
rational while the apocrypha are incredible; they are one thousand li 
apart. So this claim of the apocrypha must be false. Second, the 
Classics, the teachings of the Sage, are clear; the apocrypha, supposedly 
divine teachings, are obscure. Now, sages' teachings would [ordinarily 
be comparatively] comprehensive, divine teachings more in the nature 
of unifying principles. But the apocrypha are more voluminous than 
the Classics, and the so-called divine principles are even more compli- 
cated than those of the sages. So this claim of the apocrypha must be 
false. Third, a real mandate from heaven is accompanied by physical 
signs and miraculous prophecies. But the eighty-one apocryphal 

2 A dragon in the form of a horse was believed to have brought out of the Yellow 
River certain diagrams which developed into the eight trigrams. 

3 The divine tortoise is believed to have carried the Book on its back out of the 
River Lo. K'ung An-kuo of the Former Han, a descendant of Confucius, identified this 
hook as the "Chiu-ch'ou" found in the chapter entitled "Hung-fan" in the Book, of 
History (Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 0063-0066). 

4 Chou-i yin-te, 44/Hsi, shang/n. 

Emendation of Apocrypha 23 

writings are all attributed to Confucius, Yao was made the creator of 
the "Green Diagram," and Ch'ang [King Wen of the Chou], was 
credited with the "Red Book." 5 So this claim of the apocrypha must 
be false. Fourth, and last, maps and diagrams appeared on several 
occasions before the Shang and Chou dynasties, but the Classics were 
completed only at the end of the Spring and Autumn period. For the 
woof to come before the warp is contrary to custom in weaving. So 
this claim of the apocrypha must be false. When the false beliefs have 
been isolated and rejected, true beliefs differentiate themselves and 
become established. Since the Classics are adequate as teachings, what 
contribution do the apocrypha make to them? 

As a matter of fact, the appearance of the maps and diagrams was 
the manifestation of the good mandate of Heaven, the auspicious 
herald of a sage; they are not meant to supplement the Classics. This 
is why, when the Yellow River did not produce maps in his time, 
our Master heaved a sigh. If authentic maps could have been fabricated, 
why then the sigh? 6 From the circumstance that long ago King K'ang 
placed the River Maps in the Eastern Apartment, 7 we know that these 
physical symbols of prophecy were rare treasures handed down from 
one dynasty to another. Confucius' contributions to them were merely 
their prefaces. But later devotees of esoteric sciences constructed 
strange doctrines about the physical symbols. Some of them discoursed 
on the yin and yang, while others invented narratives of calamities and 
supernatural occurrences. The chirping of the birds was deemed to 
sound like human speech and the nibbling of worms on leaves was 
construed as a completed sentence. 8 These writings, voluminous and 

5 Both references are found in Ma Kuo-han, Yii-han shan-jang chi i-shu. 

6 Lun-yii yin-te, 16/9/9. 

7 Shang-shu t'ting-chien, 42/0328-0332. During the Hsia dynasty, the "Tung-hsii," 
or Eastern Apartment, was the academy where the aged were cared for. 

8 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chnan yin-te, 330/Hsiang 30/3 Tso; see Tso-chttan, under the 30th 
year of Duke Hsiang: "Birds chirped on the temple at Po, and they sounded like 'Alas! 
Alas!' On the day of chia-wu the state of Sung had a great calamity, and Po-chi of 
Sung died." See also "Wu-hsing chih" in the Han-shu: "During the reign of Emperor 
Chao [86-74 B.C.] a big willow tree in the Palace of Shang-yuan broke in two and fell 
to the ground. One morning it stood up. Branches and leaves grew out. Worms nibbled 
its leaves to form the sentence: 'Kung-sun Pin-chi will be made emperor.' " Kung-sun 
Pin-chi was the Emperor Hsiian (73-49 b.c.) who succeeded Emperor Chao. 

24 Emendation of Apocrypha 

disorderly as they were, were all attributed to Confucius. Learned 
scholars, after much discussion and research, placed the date of their 
appearance during the reigns of the Emperors Ai [6-1 B.C.] and P'ing 
[A.D. 1-5]. 9 The genuine secret treasures [which King K'ang] had 
stored in the Eastern Apartment of the Palace, were then mixed with 
forgeries. During the reign of Emperor Kuang-wu [A.D. 25-57] tne 
emperor placed great faith in these apocryphal writings, a precedent 
which was followed by many, many scholars, competing shoulder to 
shoulder with one another. Prince P'ei-hsien [Fu] collected apocryphal 
writings to elucidate the Classics. 10 Ts'ao Pao wrote prophecies in setting 
the Boo\ of Rites in order. 11 They had all gone far indeed in their 
deviations from the Tao and the orthodox. Huan T'an was disgusted 
with their nonsense and falsehood, 12 and Yin Ming ridiculed their 
superficiality and untruth; 13 Chang Heng exposed their errors, 14 and 
Hsun Yueh drew attention to their oddity and perversity. 15 The judg- 
ments of these four worthies, who were both erudite and penetrating, 
are indeed fine and to the point. 

As for the writings on Fu-Hsi, Shen-nung, the Yellow Emperor, 
and Shao-hao; or on the nature of Shan, Tu, and the Chung-lii; 16 or 
on the physical symbols of the white fish and red crow; 17 or on the 
auspicious omens of yellow gold and purple jade, 18 they record a great 
wealth of significant achievements in language both rich and brilliant. 

9 Hsu Yang-yuan disputed this point, maintaining that some of the apocryphal writings 
were done toward the end of the Western Han dynasty, but maps and statements of 
prognostication existed long before then. Hsu's essay is found in Yen Chieh's Ching-i 

10 Fan Yeh, Hou-han shu (Po-na ed.), 42/6*. 

11 Ibid., biography of Ts'ao Pao. 12 Ibid., biography of Huan T'an. 

13 Ibid., biography of Yin Ming. Reading with the T'ang manuscript shen-hsia as 
jou-chia to harmonize with the phrase in the previous line. 

14 Ibid., biography of Chang Heng. 15 Hsiin Yiieh, Shen-chien, "Su-hsien." 

16 It is not possible to identify Shan and Tu with certainty. Shan may refer to Tun-chia 
k'ai-shan t'u, and Tu to Ku-yiieh tu-ching. Chung-lii is a work on natural calamities 
recorded in the "I-wen chih" of the Han-shu. 

17 Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Shih-chi, "Chou pen-chi," relates how a white fish jumped into 
King Wu's boat and a fire descended from heaven and turned into a red crow, all 
symbols indicating that King Wu had received the mandate of heaven. 

18 Omens of good government, recorded in Tou-wei-i, apocryphal interpretation of 
the Boo\ of Rites. 

An Analysis of Sao 25 

While they add nothing to the Classics, they are a great help to 
literary composition. Therefore later literary men picked out and 
treasured the best elements in them. P'ing-tzu [or Chang Heng], 
greatly concerned lest these writings should mislead scholars, wrote a 
memorial urging that they should be banned, but Chung-yii [or Hsiin 
Yueh], because they also contain some truth, would not allow them to 
be burned. Since in all previous dynasties apocryphal writings have 
been treated as companions to the Classics, they have been here dis- 
cussed in full. 

The Tsan: 
The mighty River and the mild Lo 
Gave birth to maps and apocrypha, 
Divine treasures to be stored for the use of posterity. 
Although their principles are obscure, their literary patterns are 

During the two Han dynasties 

The red and the purple were one boiling mixture. 19 
But now, having deleted their odd and fantastic features, 
We preserve only what is well-carved and beautiful. 

V. An Analysts of Sao 1 

After the feng and ya 2 were no longer written, nothing worthy 
emerged to continue the development. Then a remarkable literary 
achievement arose in a burst of splendor: the Li-sao, soaring high in 

19 Red is a primary, hence pure, color, and purple a secondary or mixed color. In 
the Analects, Confucius once said, "I hate the manner in which purple takes away the 
luster of red." Lun-yu (Shih-san-ching chu-shu ed.), chiian 17, 7b. Since then red and 
purple have been interpreted as orthodox or refined and unorthodox or vulgar, 

1 Ch'ii Yuan, one of the greatest poets of China, flourishing in the fourth century B.C., 
was from the state of Ch'u. A member of the royal clan, he was at first a trusted minister 

26 An Analysis of Sao 

the wake of the Ancient Poets, 3 and in the van of the writers of tz'u. 
Can it be because the time of the author of the Li-sao was not yet long 
removed from the age of the Sage and Ch'u writers were men of 
great talent? 

Long ago Emperor Wu [140-87 B.C.] of the Han loved Sao, and 
Prince [An] of Huai-nan [d. 122 B.C.] wrote an exegesis of it. To the 
Prince, while the Kuo-feng expresses passion without sensuality, and 
the Hsiao-ya social complaint without rebelliousness, the Li-sao may 
be said to contain qualities of both. For, like a cicada, it molts in the 
midst of muck and filth and then soars aloft beyond the dusty world, 

of the King of Ch'u. But later he was alienated from the King by court intrigues and was 
twice exiled. Finally he drowned himself. It was during his second exile that he wrote 
the Li-sao, or Encountering Sorrow. Hence the term sao is roughly equivalent to the 
English term "lament." Although the term occurs only in the Li-sao, it has often been 
treated by later scholars as a genre, applied to the Ch'u-tz'u, or "Poetry of the State of 
Ch'u," as a whole. This chapter discusses the merits or the demerits of the Li-sao and 
Ch'u-tz'u in terms of their relation to the Classics, quoting and evaluating, in the 
process, the literary opinions of the Han scholars on them. Liu Hsieh does not make 
clear where the discussion of the Li-sao stops and where that of the Ch'u-tz'u begins. 
At one moment he seems to be concerned with the Li-sao and in the next breath he is 
found to be speaking about the Ch'u-tz'u as a whole. However, I try to mark the point 
where Liu Hsieh shifts from the Li-sao to the Ch'u-tz'u as I do in the translation on the 
basis of the content he quotes. 

2 There are four versions of the Boo\ of Poetry (also translated as Boo\ of Songs, 
Boo\ of Odes) of which only the Mao version has come down to us intact. It is so 
named because a Han scholar by the name of Mao Heng wrote a philological com- 
mentary on the Book, and this commentary was taught to another Han scholar whose 
name was Mao Ch'ang. The former is known as the Great Mao, the latter as Lesser Mao. 
The Boo\ of Poetry is composed of three parts: (i) feng, folksongs and lyrics collected 
from thirteen different localities; (2) ya, containing lyrics of a more polished type, and 
narratives; (3) sung, ceremonial and sacrificial songs, which accompanied dances. The 
term feng means wind, and, figuratively, is taken to mean either the gentle influence 
of lyrical lamentation and complaints or the gentle way in which one remonstrates with 
his superior, especially the ruler. The term ya means graceful. These two, together with 
sung, have been used to designate the style of a literary piece which has the quality 
of the Boo\ of Poetry. 

Then there are three literary elements employed in the Boo\ of Poetry: (1) fu, narra- 
tive, (2) pi, metaphorical, and (3) hsing, allegorical. These three elements and the 
previously mentioned three types of feng, ya, and sung form what are known as the 
"six elements." 

Finally we often come across the phrase "four beginnings." I have shown how the 
Boo\ of Poetry is composed of three parts: feng, ya, and sung. As the ya is subdivided 
into the Hsiao-ya (minor ya) and Ta-ya (major ya), the book is considered to contain 
four instead of three parts, that is, feng, ta-ya, hsiao-ya, and sung. For its different 
interpretations, see note 4, Chapter III. 

3 In most cases, Liu Hsieh uses shih-jen, the Ancient Poets, to refer to poets who 
wrote the poems contained in the Boo\ of Poetry. 

An Analysis of Sao 27 

its brilliance untarnished by its passage through the mud. The light 
it sheds may be compared to that of the sun and the moon. 

It was the opinion of Pan Ku [A.D. 32-92] that Ch'ii Yuan was 
parading his talents and making an exhibition of himself in the Li-sao, 
that he drowned himself in the river out of resentment and bitterness, 
that the stories of I and Chiao and of the two Yao beauties 4 do not tally 
with those given in the Tso-ckuan, 5 that references to K'un-lun and 
Hsiian-p'u 6 are not found in the Classics; but that nevertheless its 
language is beautiful and elegant, setting a standard for all tz'u and fu ; 
and that the poet [Ch'ii Yuan], though not a man of comprehensive 
wisdom, possessed talent of exquisite quality. 7 

Wang I believed that the Ancient Poets persuade by sheer force 8 
while Ch'ii Yuan is humble and unassuming, and that the ideas in 
the Li-sao are based on the Classics : for example the driving of dragons 
in fours and the riding of phoenixes are based on "He then rides on 
six dragons . . . ," 9 [which is taken from the Boo\ of Changes] and 
references to K'un-lun and Liu-sha are based on the "Division of Land" 
in the "Yii-kung" [in the Boo\ of History]. There is no one among 
the famed scholars who did not take the Li-sao as a model for his 
formal literary writings. It is indeed gold in appearance and jade in 
substance, a work which has no peer in a hundred generations. 10 

At the time of the Han, Emperor Hsiian [73-49 B.C.] admired its 
consistency with the Classics, 11 and Yang Hsiung [53 B.C.-A.D. 18], 

4 Daughters of the ruler of Yu-yii, given to Shao-k'ang as wives when he was on his 

5 The Tso-chuan, one of the three commentaries on the Annals of Spring and Autumn, 
a history of the state of Lu, edited by Confucius. This commentary was supposedly 
written by a contemporary of Confucius. Its authenticity has been debated, but Bernard 
Karlgren has convincingly demonstrated it. 

6 K'un-lun, a mountain range situated in the West of China. Hsiian-p'u, situated in 
the farthest reach of the K'un-lun mountains. 

7 See Pan Ku's "Preface to the Li-sao." 

8 The phrase t'i-erh, "lead by taking hold of the ear," is from the Boo\ of Poetry: 
see the Mao-shih yin-te, 68/256/10. It is a figurative expression for a forceful method 
of remonstrating with a ruler. 

9 Chou-i yin-te, 1/1/t'uan, "He then rides on six dragons toward heaven." 

10 See Wang I's "Preface" to Ch'u-tz'u chang-chii. 

11 The Han-shu, biography of Wang Pao. 

28 An Analysis of Sao 

after critical and appreciative study, maintained that its style is the 
same as that of the Odes. 12 These four scholars accepted the Li-sao as 
consistent with the Classics, although Pan Ku criticized it for not 
agreeing with the Tso-chuan. But both in commendation and in censure 
all have been quite arbitrary, and both their blame and their praise 
have been exaggerated. In their judgments they may be said to be 
observant but not discriminating; they have been appreciative but 

In order to determine the truth of their statements, we should discuss 
concrete examples from the whole Ch'u-tzu. When he describes the 
brilliance and greatness of Yao and Shun, 13 or speaks of the reverence 
and respect shown by Yii and T'ang, 14 [Ch'ii Yuan] is adopting the 
style of tien-\ao [of the Boo\ of History]. 15 When he condemns the 
lack of discipline of Chieh and Chou, 16 or deplores the fall of I and 
Chiao, 17 he is adopting the formal remonstration. 18 When he uses 
dragons as a metaphorical expression for men of virtue, and clouds and 
rainbows as metaphorical expressions for sycophants, he is adopting 
the devices of metaphor and moral allegory. 19 When he wipes the 
tears which flow each time he looks at [the palace of] the ruler, which, 
to his grief, is closed to him by nine gates, he is adopting the formal 
expression of a repining loyal subject. Judged by its performance in 

12 Yang Hsiung's statement is unidentifiable. 

13 Yao and Shun, legendary sage-kings, whose reigns are known as T'ang and Yii 

14 This is according to the T'ang dynasty manuscript, but it should be T'ang and 
Yii according to the Li-sao. Yii and T'ang were also ancient sage-kings whose dynasties 
are known as Hsia and Shang respectively, and not to be confused with T'ang and Yii, 
the reign titles of Yao and Shun respectively. 

15 In the Boo\ of History certain chapters are known as tien and a few others as \ao. 
Hence the phrase tien-\ao comes to stand for the style of the Boo\ of History as a whole. 

16 Chieh was the last ruler of the Hsia, and Chou was the last ruler of the Shang. 
They are considered the symbol of wickedness just as Yao and Shun are considered 
symbols of virtue. 

17 1 usurped Hsia, only to be usurped in turn by Chiao, and Chiao was destroyed 
when Shao-k'ang restored the Hsia rule in 2096 B.C. 

18 Remonstration was conceived in the ancient times to be a function of the poems 
in the Book of Poetry. Hence, by saying that Ch'ii Yuan is adopting the idea of remon- 
stration, Liu Hsieh means that Ch'ii is adopting the style of the Book of Poetry. 

19 Devices traditionally linked with the Book, of Poetry. 

An Analysis of Sao 29 

these four respects, 20 the Li-sao is in harmony with the spirit of feng 
and ya. But the references to riding on clouds and dragons and such 
narratives of the strange and fantastic as the sending of Feng-lung 21 to 
seek Fu-fei, or the commissioning of the venom-bearing falcon to act 
as go-between to obtain the hand of the daughter of Sung [Yu-sung] — 
all these are matters which are odd and strange. K'ang-hui's 22 causing 
heaven to collapse on the earth, the shooting down of the [nine] suns 
by I, the nine-headed uprooter of trees 23 and the earthly deity with 
three eyes 24 — all these are tales which are incredible and strange. When 
Ch'ii Yuan expresses his desire to follow the example of P'eng Hsien, 25 
or to accept contentedly the fate of [Wu] Tzu-hsii, 26 he seems cowardly 
and small-minded. His pointing with great pleasure to men and 
women sitting together all mixed up without distinction and his con- 
sidering an all-day and all-night drinking spree as the height of enjoy- 
ment speak of licentiousness and excess. 27 At these four points the 
Ch'u-tz'u is not in accord with the Classics. In some respects it possesses 
classic elegance; in other respects it is exaggerated and fantastic. We 
know, indeed, that its style cannot compare with that of the literary 
works of the Three Dynasties, and yet it is fuller of the qualities of 
feng and ya than that of the literature of the Warring States period. 
Though a ruffian in the realm of ya and sung, 29, it is a hero in the land 
of poetry. When we examine both the bone structure of the work and 

20 Of the four respects, the first refers to the style of the Boo\ of History, and the 
remaining three to that of the Boo\ of Poetry. The repining loyal subject, of which 
Ch'ii Yuan is a classic example, is first found in the Book. °f Poetry. He is conceived to 
be remonstrating with his lord by means of metaphors and allegories. Later this became 
a conventional type. 

21 Wang I's commentary to the Li-sao says: "Feng-lung is the god of clouds." But it 
is often thought to be the god of thunder. 

22 The Ch'u-tz'u, chiian III, "T'ien-wen." K'ang-hui is another name for Kung-kung. 

23 Found in "Chao-hun," by Sung Yii, in the Ch'u-tz'u. 

24 Also found in Sung Yii's "Chao-hun." The last two tales cannot be attributed to 
Ch'ii Yuan. 

25 A worthy of the Yin dynasty who drowned himself when his advice was not 

26 Wu Tzu-hsii, who cut his throat when he was not listened to by the King of Wu. 
See Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Shih-chi, biography of Wu Tzu-hsii. 

27 Both references are to Sung Yii's "Chao-hun." 

28 The phrase "ya and sung" means here the Boo\ of Poetry. See note 2, on the 
structure of the Boo\ of Poetry. 

30 An Analysis of Sao 

the musculature and integument which that structure sustains, we see 
that, although the work adopts the basic idea of the Classics, there are 
yet magnificent literary expressions which are the original work of 
the authors themselves. Thus the Li-sao and Chiu-chang, brilliant and 
beautiful, communicate frustrated desires; the Chiu-\o and Chiu-pien, 
delicate and lyrical, express grief; the Yiian-yu and T'ien-wen, odd and 
eccentric, exhibit great artfulness; and the Chao-hun and Ta-chao> 
gorgeous and dazzling, are imbued with profound beauty. The Po-chii 
reveals the true manner of one in exile; and the Yti-fu manifests a 
talent that is without peer. For these reasons, their spirit is in harmony 
with the spirit of the ancients and their language meets the need of the 
present day. With their startling grace and unique beauty, they are 
indeed incomparable. From the Chiu-huai downward, all the poets have 
followed their steps, but, hopelessly outdistanced, not one could over- 
take Ch'ii and Sung. 29 As narratives of feelings and of wrong, Ch'ii 
Yuan's and Sung Yii's works are melancholy and moving; in recount- 
ing a life of isolation they communicate its almost unbearable sorrow; 
mountains and streams leap before our eyes when we listen to their 
melodic descriptions, and seasonal changes form part of our experience 
as we read their literary accounts of them. Mei [Sheng, ?-i4i B.C.] 
and Chia [I, 200-168 B.C.] entered the realm of beauty by imitating 
their style; and Ma [Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, ?-ii7 B.C.] and Yang [Hsiung, 
53 B.C.-A.D. 18] attained the quality of the wondrous 30 by developing 
their forms. Those who were influenced by them include poets of more 
than one generation. Great talents have borrowed their main ideas; 
the clever, their elegant language; those who compose poetry, their 
descriptions of mountains and streams, and poetic novices such moral 
metaphors as that of "fragrant grass." 31 If one is able to lean on the 

29 Ch'ii Yuan and Sung Yii, the two major poets of Ch'u, authors of the works cited 
here. Traditionally, the Li-sao, Chiu-chang, Chiu-kp, Yiian-yu, Tien-wen, Po-chii, and 
Yti-fu are attributed to Ch'ii Yuan, and Chiu-pien and Chao-hun to Sung Yii. The 
Ta-chao, however, is sometimes attributed to Ch'ii Yuan and sometimes to Ching Ch'a, 
another famous poet of the State of Ch'u. 

30 "Wondrous" is one of several rough classifications of literary quality. 

31 In the Ch'u-tz'u, particularly the Li-sao, fragrant grasses and flowers are meta- 
phorically used to stand for good moral qualities, and hence good men. 

An Exegesis of Poetry 31 

ya and the sung as one leans on the cross bar of a carriage, or to harness 
the Ch'u-tz'u poetry as one harnesses a horse, and if one can absorb 
their wondrous qualities without losing sight of their truths and 
appreciate their flowers without neglecting their fruits, then, just as 
effortlessly as he glances, he will be able fully to utilize his literary 
power, and just as spontaneously as he coughs, he will be able to reach 
the literary heights. He will have no need to go to Ch'ang-ch'ing [or 
Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju] for inspiration or to Tzu-yiian [or Wang Pao, 
?-6i B.C.] for benefits. 

The Tsan : 
Without Ch'ii Yuan 
How could there be a Lisao ? 
His startling talent sweeps like wind, 
And his vigorous patterns roll like clouds. 
The mountains and streams he describes have no horizons, 
And the emotions and ideas he expresses are those of one who has 

suffered much. 
All the phases and forms of the works are of gold and jade, 
And its minutest fragments overflow with beauty. 

VI. An Exegesis of Poetry 1 

Great Shun 2 said: "Poetry is the expression of sentiments, and songs 
are these expressions set to music." 3 Of this explanation, given by the 
sage, the meaning is clear. That which is the sentiment within the mind 
becomes poetry when expressed in words. 4 It is here indeed that literary 

1 The purpose of this chapter is to give the origin, function, and development of 
poetry from its earliest traces at a time when it was not distinguished from music to 
Liu Hsieh's own time. 

2 See note 13, Chapter V. 

3 Shang-shu t'ung-chien (Peking, 1936), 02/068-0686. 

4 Mao's edition of the Boo\ of Poetry (Shih-san-ching chu-shu ed., 1 81 5) , 5a. 

32 An Exegesis of Poetry 

form unfurls itself to communicate reality. 5 Poetry means discipline, 6 
disciplined human emotion. The single idea that runs through the 
three hundred poems in the Boo\ of Poetry is freedom from undisci- 
plined thought. 7 The interpretation of poetry as disciplined human 
emotions is in thorough agreement with this observation. 

Man is endowed with seven emotions. When stimulated by external 
objects, these emotions rise in response. In responding to objects one 
sings to express his sentiments. All this is perfectly spontaneous. In 
ages past, there was a metrical piece of Ke-t'ien-shih's called "Hsiian- 
niao," which was set to music; 8 and in the music of Huang-ti's "Yiin- 
men" there is not one note which is empty of meaning. 9 At the time 
of Yao the song of "Ta-t'ang" was sung, and Shun created the lyric 
called "Nan-feng." 10 Examination of these two poems, however, shows 
that they have only the merit of communicating ideas. 

When Great Yii completed his work, his nine regulated achievements 

5 Scholars usually attribute the first use of the term tsai (to convey) to Chou Tun-i 
of the Sung, and the idea of literary form as a vehicle conveying tao (moral principles) 
to Han Yii of the T'ang, whose term for this idea is hjuan (to string together). In this 
chapter we see that Liu Hsieh was the first one either to use the term tsai or to advance 
the idea of literary form as being in itself a vehicle for ideas. In conceiving the function 
of literary form to be \uan or tsai (to string together or to convey) moral principles, 
Han Yii and Chou Tun-i are thought to have relegated the literary form to a secondary 
role and elevated moral principles to a supreme height. This idea may be fully justified 
in the case of Chou Tun-i and the Neo-Confucians after him; it is less applicable to 
Han Yii, who certainly valued literary form both as an instrument and for its own sake. 
But it is totally inapplicable in the case of Liu Hsieh, for whom literary form and moral 
principles are of equal importance. 

6 This is according to the Han-shen-u/u, an apocryphal work purporting to explain 
the Boo\ of Poetry. 

7 Lun-yii yin-te, 2I2J2. 

8 Ke-t'ien-shih is the title of an ancient ruler. See the Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu, "Shan- 
t'ung chi": "He wins confidence while not uttering a single word, and the people 
follow his way though he makes no efTort to transform them. Great indeed is he, and 
beyond name." The "Hsuan-niao" is second of the eight musical poetic pieces recorded 
in the Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu, "Ku-yiieh p'ien" in "Chung-hsia chi," chapter on the 
ancient music. See Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu t'ung-chien, 5/8b. 

9 "Yun-men" is a musical poem commemorating Emperor Huang-ti's achievements 
and virtue. See Chou-li yin-te, 6/ib, "Ch'un-kuan," "Ta ssu-yiieh," and the "Cheng-i"; 
the commentary to Cheng Hsuan's (127-200) "Preface of Shih-p'u." 

10 "Ta-t'ang" was written by Shun in praise of Yao's determination to abdicate. In the 
"Yueh-chi" in the Li-chi, "Ta-chang" is mentioned as a song of the Yao period. For the 
poem, see the Shang-shu ta-chuan, attributed to Fu-Sheng of the Han. For "Nan-feng," 
see Li-chi yin-te, 19/7. 

An Exegesis of Poetry 33 

were sung in songs; 11 and when T'ai-k'ang lapsed from virtue, his 
five brothers complained in song. 12 To use poetry to eulogize good 
and set right evil behavior is a practice of long standing. From the 
Shang to the Chou, the ya and the sung are the most perfect examples. 
The four beginnings 13 are dazzling and brilliant, and the six elements 14 
are exhaustive and profound. Tzu-hsia properly comprehended the 
verse containing the line "Be white in order to be beautiful"; 15 and 
Tzu-kung, the stanza in which chiseling and polishing are mentioned. 16 
For this reason Shang and Tz'u were considered by Confucius worthy 
to discuss poetry with. 17 

After the exhaustion of the royal grace of the Chou dynasty, the 
collecting of poems stopped. 18 During the Spring and Autumn period 
the old poetry was read or recited by men who wished to reveal their 
ambitions; it was pressed into service to glorify diplomatic guests at 
state functions, and to quote it with facility was sought as a personal 
ornament. In the state of Ch'u poetry was characterized by satires 
and laments, and the Li-sao may be considered a satirical allegory. 
Although the first emperor of the Ch'in burned classical writings, he 
had poems about the immortals written. 19 

At the beginning of the Han, Wei Meng, following the example of 

11 See note 18, Chapter I. 

12 Wu-tzu, "five persons," usually construed to mean five brothers of T'ai-k'ang, 
may also mean Wu-tzu or Wu Kuang, the youngest son of Ch'i, son of Yii and father 
of T'ai-k'ang, as reported in the Chu-shu chi-nien. If this rendering is correct, Wu-tzu 
chih-\e would be "The song of Wu-kuang, T'ai-k'ang's youngest brother." But there 
seems little doubt that Liu Hsieh took the phrase to mean the five brothers of T'ai-k'ang. 

13 See note 4, Chapter III. 

14 See note 2, Chapter V. 

15 Lun-yii yin-te, 4/3/8, where Tzu-hsia and Confucius were discussing lines from 
the "Shih-jen" in the Boof{ of Poetry. The line quoted in the Analects and here is not 
contained in the Mao edition of the Boo\ of Poetry. See Mao-shih yin-te, 12/57/2. 

16 Lun-yii yin-te, 2/1/15. The poem discussed is found in Mao-shih yin-te, 12/55/1. 
In both these cases, a moralistic interpretation of poetry is emphasized. 

17 Shang is another name of Tzu-hsia and Tz'u another name of Tzu-kung. See 
references in the Analects in notes 15 and 16. 

18 Han-shu, "I-wen chih": "In ancient times there was an office in charge of collecting 
lyrics and folksongs. From these poems the ruler learned of the conditions of the people. 
Such knowledge would acquaint him of the success and failure of his government and 
would serve as a basis for improvement." 

19 This happened in the thirty-sixth year of his reign (211 B.C.), but the poems are 
lost. See Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Shih-chi, "Ch'in-shih-huang pen-chi." 

34 An Exegesis of Poetry 

the Chou poets, first used the four-word-line form for the formal 
remonstration. Emperor Wu [140-87 B.C.] loved literature and, in the 
tower of Po-liang, crossed wits with his ministers to produce poetry. 20 
And there were Yen 21 and [Ssu-]ma [Hsiang-ju] and the like who 
were limited by nothing in their poetic creativity. When Emperor 
Ch'eng [32-7 B.C.] ordered the selection and collection of the poetry 
of the time, 22 more than three hundred poems, including almost all 
the literary pieces of the day, were collected. In all these literary 
remains we find no trace of five-word-line poetry. Therefore scholars 
of later times cast doubt on the authenticity of [the poems attributed 
to] Li Ling 23 and Pan, a woman palace-official, during the time of 
Emperor Ch'eng. 

In the "Hsing-lu" in the "Shao-nan" 24 we find half the lines [in the 
second and third stanzas] to be of the five-word type, 25 and the entire 
"boy's song," "Ts'ang-lang," is of five-word lines. 26 "Hsia-yii," 27 a 
song of a court jester, appeared long ago during the time of the 
Ch'un-ch'iu period; 28 and the folk song "Hsieh-ching" was current in 
recent times. 29 So when we investigate the periods and look for evi- 
dence, it is clear that the five-word-line pattern has long been in 
existence. As for the "Ancient Poems," 30 they are fine and beautiful. 

20 This reportedly happened in the year 108 B.C. The poetry may be described as 
"round robin" poetry. The emperor led off with a line, to be followed by his ministers 
one after another, each giving a line with the same rhyme or rhymes. Ku Yen-wu of 
the Ch'ing dynasty considered these lines to be later forgeries, because the titles affixed 
to many of the ministers who took part were created in later times. See his ]ih-chih lu, 
chiian 21. 

21 Yen Chi, flourishing in the second century B.C. 

22 See the "Main Preface" of the "I-wen chih" in the Han-shu. 

23 Five-word line poems have been attributed to Li Ling and his friend Su Wu. 
Liu Hsieh seems to be the first one to question their authenticity. Later Su Shih (1036- 
1101) made the same point. 

24 "Shao-nan" is one of the fifteen sections in the Boo\ of Poetry containing poems 
collected from among the states, and "Hsing-lu" is a poem under this section; its number 
is 17. 

25 Mao-shih yin-te, 1/17/2, 3. 

26 Mancius, 27/4A/9. Also found in the "Yii-fu" in the Ch'u-tz'u. 

27 The first two characters of a five-word-line poem used as a title. 

28 Kito-yu, "Chin-yii." 

29 Hsieh-ching are the first two characters of the folk song. It was current during the 
time of Emperor Ch'eng. See the "Wu-hsing chih" in the Han-shu. 

30 The term "Ancient Poems" refers particularly to the group of nineteen five-word- 

An Exegesis of Poetry 35 

Some attributed them to Mei Shu of the Western Han, 31 except for 
the poem on "Ku-chu," which was believed to be from the pen of 
Fu I. 32 But if we compare their literary style, they seem to be the 
productions of the Two Han. Their composition and rhetoric are 
unadorned and yet not crude. Realistic in describing objective scenes 
and deeply moving in depicting inner emotions, they are indeed the 
crown of the five-word-line poetry. 

The "Yiian-pien" or Lament of Chang Heng, 33 pure and elegant, 
is absorbing in interest; and those poems about the immortals, or those 
of a slow rhythm, 34 are graceful in the freshness of their sound-patterns. 

At the beginning of the Chien-an reign [A.D. 196-220] the five-word- 
line pattern developed by leaps and bounds. Emperor Wen 35 and 
Ch'en Ssu 36 galloped ahead with a free rein, while Wang, Hsu, Ying, 
and Liu, with eyes fixed on the road, raced along in competition. 37 
Their common themes are love for the wind and the moon, excursions 
to gardens and parks, royal grace and favors, drunken revelry and 
feasts. Heroic in giving free play to their vitality, open and artless in 
the application of their talents, never resorting to petty cleverness in 
the expression of their feelings or in their descriptions of what they 
saw, and in harnessing language for their descriptions, aiming simply 
at lucidity — in all these ways they manifest the same spirit. 

During the reign of Cheng-shih [240-248] of the Wei, the trend 

line poems, collectively known as "Ku-shih shih-chiu shou" (Nineteen ancient poems), 
of which the authorship and date have been matters of conjecture and debate. 

31 Mei Sheng (?-i 4 i B.C.). 

32 "Ku-chu" means a lone bamboo, symbolic of a betrothed woman pining for her 
lover to come to take her as his bride. Fu I flourished during the reigns of Emperor 
Ming (A.D. 58-75) and Emperor Chang (A.D. 76-88) of the Later Han. 

33 A four-word-line poem entitled "Autumn Aster" by Chang Heng is quoted in the 
Yii-lan as a poem in his lament group. See T'ai-p'ing yii-lan, chuan 893. 

34 These poems are not identifiable. 

35 Ts'ao P'ei, 187-226, who usurped the throne and created the Wei dynasty. 

36 Ts'ao Chih, Ts'ao P'ei's brother, 192-232. 

37 Wang Ts'an (177-217), Hsu Kan (171-218), Ying Yang (?-2i7), and Liu Chen 
(?-2i7) are four of the seven poets known as "The seven masters of the Chien-an 
period." The remaining three are: K'ung Yung (153-208), Ch'en Lin (?-2i7), and 
Yuan Yii (?-2i2). They are also known as Seven Masters in Yeh, the place where they 
all resided, and are so grouped in Emperor Wen's literary critical essay, Tien-Inn Inn-wen. 
All of them used the five-word-line poem as their main literary form. 

36 An Exegesis of Poetry 

was to explain tao, 38 and poetry of this period contains elements of the 
cult of immortality. Ho Yen [ P-249] and his like are in general super- 
ficial and shallow. Only Hsi [K'ang, 223-262], whose works are charac- 
terized by pure and lofty emotions, and Yuan [Chi, 210-263], whose 
ideas are far-reaching and profound, achieved outstanding stature. As 
to the "Po-i" 39 by Ying Chu [190-252], that independent and coura- 
geous man, its language is odd but the ideas are true. It retains the 
spirit of the Wei. 

In the Chin dynasty [266-316] the taste of most men of talent leaned 
toward the trivial and ornate. Chang, 40 P'an, 41 Tso [Ssu] and Lu 42 
walked shoulder to shoulder in the lane of poetry. Their language is 
more ornate than that of the Cheng-shih period, but they did not have 
the vigor of the Chien-an masters. Some of them delighted in a 
fastidious use of literary phrases, while others sought to embroider 
[their literary reputations with] the conventional and trivial. These 
were the general trends of the time. 

During the period of the Chiang-tso [317-420] 43 literary writings 

38 This is the tao of the religious sect, to be distinguished from philosophical Taoism; 
although it was still discussed under the names of Lao and Chuang. Lao refers to 
Laotzu, believed to have lived during the sixth century B.C. Before he retired, he left 
behind a short work of about 5,000 words, expounding a mystical principle which is 
called tao. About two hundred years later, Chuangtzu continued the tao philosophy, 
a kind of naturalism with emphasis on absolute individual spontaneity and freedom. 
Because tao was considered a metaphysical principle, the discussion on Lao and Chuang, 
particularly during the Wei and Chin dynasties, is known as metaphysical talk. During the 
Ch'in dynasty there arose a belief in the physical immortality of man. One of the 
incentives that urged the First Emperor of the Ch'in dynasty to roam all over China 
was to seek the elixer of life by exploring famous mountains in the hope of meeting 
with the immortals. The Taoists of the Han and Later Han periods practiced alchemy 
in an effort to produce the elixer. 

89 Poems so called because they express the idea that in po-lii or "one hundred ideas" 
there may be i-shih, or "one miss"; this is the origin of the form known as "Po-i," or 
"One hundred-one." 

40 There were three Chang brothers: Tsai, Hsieh, and K'ang, all flourishing in the 
fourth century. See the Chin-shu, chiian 55, the biography of Chang K'ang. Another 
theory groups Chang Hua (232-300) with Chang Tsai and his brother Hsieh to form 
"Three Chang." 

41 There were two P'an: Yiieh (?-30o) and his nephew Ni. 

42 The two Lu brothers were Chi (261-303) and Yiin (262-303). 

43 Referring to the time when the Chin moved south under the pressure of the northern 
barbarian tribes, to establish the Eastern Chin. 

An Exegesis of Poetry 37 

were burdened with metaphysical discussions. 44 Writers ridiculed the 
desire for worldly attainments and indulged in talks on complete 
spontaneity, or total obliviousness to mental machination and schemes. 
Although Yuan and Sun 45 and those who followed them had each his 
own particular way of carving and coloring his literary patterns, still, 
with respect to intense rhetorical interest, none was in the same class 
[with those who wrote prior to the Chiang-tso period]. For example, 
the poems by Ching-yang [or Kuo P'u, 276-324] on the immortals are 
distinguished and truly great. 

At the beginning of the Sung [420-479] some development in the 
literary trend was evident. Chuang and Lao had receded into the 
background and the theme of mountains and streams then began to 
flourish. Writers vied in weaving couplets which might extend to 
hundreds of words, or in attempting to achieve the wondrous 46 by 
a single line. In expressing feelings, they always made them in complete 
harmony with the things they described; and in literary phraseology 
they tried their best to achieve freshness. These are the fields in which 
recent writers have been competing. 

As we trace literary development through successive periods, we 
can detect a developing trend in literary sentiments. And as we single 
out which features are common to and which are unique in various 
periods, the main outline of the trend will become clear. In the four- 
word-line poetry, which is the orthodox form, grace and brilliance are 
the fundamental qualities; while in the five-word-line verse, which is 
a derived pattern, the important elements are purity and beauty. 
Flowers [the ornate or romantic elements] and fruits [the factual or 
realistic elements] are employed differently in accordance with indi- 
vidual talents. Thus P'ing-tzu [or Chang Heng, 78-135] achieved 
the grace of the ideal poetry, Shu-yeh [or Hsi K'ang, 223-262] its 
brilliance, Mao-hsien [or Chang Hua, 232-300] approached its purity, 
and Ching-yang [or Chang Hsieh] developed its beauty. Tzu-chien 

44 Discussions on Taoist conceptions found in the Laotzu, the Chuangtzu, and the 
Boo1{ of Changes. 

45 Yuan Hung and Sun Ch'o, both flourishing in the fourth century. 

46 See note 30, Chapter V. 

38 An Exegesis of Poetry 

[or Ts'ao Chih, 192-232] and Chung-hsuan [or Wang Ts'an, 77-217] 
combined in their works all these good qualities; while T'ai-ch'ung 
[or Tso Ssu] and Kung Kan [or Liu Chen, ?-2i7] each captured a 
particular aspect of its beauty. 

Although the form of poetry has a universal norm, the workings of 
poets' minds are never stereotyped. Each writes according to his own 
nature and gifts, and few are able to encompass all the good qualities. 
If a poet has a shrewd understanding of the difficult, he will find his 
course easy; but if he carelessly attempts to treat everything as easy, 
the difficult will certainly remain there in store for him. 

As for the mixed form containing three- and six-word lines, it has 
its origin in the Boo\ of Poetry. And the writing of the "Li-ho" 47 has 
its beginning in the apocryphal writings. The "Hui-wen" 48 began with 
Tao Yuan; 49 and "round-robin" poetry is modeled after the lines 
produced in the Tower of Po-liang. Some of these forms are great and 
others are petty, but they all aim at expressing emotions and ideas. 
Hence we include them all in the realm of poetry. But we shall not 
attempt to deal with all of them in detail. 

The Tsan: 
People are born with feelings, 
With instincts to hum and sing. 

The stream of poetry took its rise during the time of ancient emperors, 
And forks of it appear in the two "Nan." 50 
Poetry is in harmony with both the spirit and the reason, 
And develops in accord with historical circumstances. 
Glorious and rich, 
It is a splendid spectacle for all time. 

47 Li means to take apart and ho, to combine. In this form of poetry, some lines 
take characters apart and others combine these parts to form new characters. Hence the 
name "To separate and to combine." Here, poetic qualities are almost nonexistent, and 
the reader is confronted with a set of riddles. 

48 Another literary game of composing poetic lines which can be read from right 
to left or from left to right, and from up downward or from down upward. 

49 Not identifiable. 

50 See note 24 for "Shao-nan." 

VII. Musical Poetry (Yueh-fu) 1 

The Yueh-fu may be described as tones 2 prolonged according to rules 
of prosody and intervals 3 chosen according to rules of harmony. 4 The 
nine songs in the central heaven 5 are those of God, and the eight tunes 
of Ke-t'ien 6 belong to the times of ancient emperors. From the 
"Hsien" 7 and "Ying" 8 downward there is little evidence to discuss. 
The "Hou-jen" song of T'u-shan 9 marked the beginning of the music 
of the south. The folk song "Fei-yen" of Yu-sung 10 was the beginning 
of the music of the north. With the sighing of [K'ung-]chia of the 
Hsia dynasty at Tung-yang, the music of the east began. 11 And Yin 
Cheng's nostalgia for his old city when he moved to the West River 

1 Originally a government bureau established at the time of Emperor Wu (140- 
87 B.C.) of the Han dynasty to collect, write, and compose songs, probably for ritual 
purposes. The term Yueh-fu then was used to stand for the songs collected or written 
by members of the bureau. In this chapter the musical aspect is emphasized, although 
it is quite plain that this aspect cannot be completely divorced from poetry itself. 

2 There are five tones: Kung (C), Shang (D), Chiao (E), Chih (G), and Yu (A), 
a whole tone scale. 

3 Twelve pitch pipes, producing a chromatic scale from C to A. 

4 This is a quotation from "Shun-tien" in the Boo\ of History. Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 

5 Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Shih-chi, "Chao shih-chia": Chao Chien-tzu reported his dream in 
which he went to the central heaven where he heard nine songs. 

6 See note 8, Chapter VI, where we have Ke-t'ien-shih. 

7 The music of Yao called "Hsien-ch'ih." See the Pai-hu-t'ung, "Ti-wang li-yiieh." 

8 The music of Emperor Kao, called "Wu-ying" according to the Pai-hu-t'ung and 
"Liu-ying" according to an apocryphal work on the Classic of music, quoted in a com- 
mentary on "Yiieh-chi" in the Li-chi. 

9 "Hou-jen" are the first two words of a song by a girl who waited for Yu of the 
Hsia dynasty on behalf of her mistress, the daughter of T'u-shan-shih. Literally, "hou- 
jen" means one who waits. 

10 There were two beautiful girls in the tribe of Yu-sung who were trying to catch 
a flying swallow sent to see them by God. When the swallow left and flew to the north 
never to return, they made a song, which ends in: "Swallow! Swallow! It flew away!" 
The phrase "fei-yen" means a flying swallow. 

11 K'ung-chia of the Hsia dynasty hunted at Tung-yang. A great gust of wind blinded 
him and he groped his way into a peasant's house. It happened that the peasant's wife 
was feeding her baby boy. Some people took this coming of the Hsia ruler as a good 
omen for the boy's future, while others thought it was a misfortune. K'ung-chia took 
the boy with him, saying that nothing would happen to the boy, now that he was a son 
of the ruler. When the boy grew up his feet were injured when a tent with a broken 
beam fell on them, and he was obliged to become a gate keeper. K'ung-chia sighed: 
"Alas! What a misfortune! Isn't that fate!" 

40 Musical Poetry 

initiated the music of the west. 12 There is no general rule for the 
development of musical patterns. Ordinary men and women express 
their feelings in local folk songs; these songs were gathered by official 
poetry collectors and set to music by blind music masters. 13 These 
feelings set silk strings and bamboo reeds vibrating while the living 
spirit informed the brasses and stone bells. Because of this bond 
between music and meaning Master K'uang could predict success and 
failure by testing the wind; 14 and Chi-cha could detect symptoms 
of a state's rise and fall in musical subtleties which he recognized. 15 
How keen their perception was! 

Music is organically related to one's moral nature. Its influence 
penetrates one's very fibres and marrow. Therefore, our early kings 
took great pains to check excesses in this realm. The education of 
noble sons included a requirement that they practice the singing of 
the nine virtues. 16 Therefore they were able to respond emotionally 
to the seven beginnings, 17 and their moral influence was capable of 
changing the "eight winds" [the empire]. 

After the decline of the ya [or orthodox] music, sounds that drowned 
one's soul prevailed. During the Ch'in musical classics were burned; 

12 Yin Cheng is another name for Ho-t'an-chia of the Shang (1542-1533 B.C.)- As 
a reference for notes 9, 10, 11, and 12, see Lti-shih Ch'un-ch'iu, "Chi-hsia chi," "Yin- 
ch'u pien." 

13 For the practice of poetry collecting, see the Kung-yang chuan, commentary by 
Ho Hsiu of the later Han. Somewhat different versions are given in the Han-shu, 
"Shih-huo chih," in a letter from Liu Hsin to Yang Hsiung, quoted in the Fang-yen. 

14 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 288/Hsiang 18/6 Tso. 

Chin people heard that Ch'u was about to attack Chin. Master K'uang, a court musician 
in Chin, played the songs of eight winds (winds from eight directions). He noted that 
the south wind lacked vigor. He predicted that Ch'u, a state in the south, would never 

15 Chi-cha, a prince from the state of Wu, came to the state of Lu and listened to the 
music of different dynasties and states. He was able, through listening to the music, to 
pass judgments on the quality of government of these various dynasties or states. See 
Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 326-327/Hsiang 29/8 Tso. 

16 For the enumeration of the nine virtues, see "The Kao-yu mo" in the Book, of 
History, 16a. Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 04/0139-0165. They are described as: "tolerant and 
yet dignified, gentle and yet independent, frank and yet polite, in control and yet 
respectful, yielding and yet effective, straightforward and yet mild, simple and pure, 
decisive and practical, and strong and acting according to principles." 

17 The beginnings of heaven, earth, man, and the four seasons. These beginnings find 
expression in the following respective notes: C, D, E, Vff, G, A, and B. 

Musical Poetry 41 

however, at the beginning of the Han some were recovered. Chih 
[a Han musician] recorded the musical notes, and Shu-sun [T'ung] 
fixed the modes. Kao-tsu [the first emperor of the Han, 206-195 B.C.] 
created the "Wu-te wu" [a martial dance], and Emperor Wen [179- 
157 B.C.] initiated the Ssu-shih," [or "Four Seasons" dance]. 18 Though 
these were made in the spirit of the "Shao-hsia," 19 they also adopted 
some of the Ch'in patterns. But that melodious music is silent now, 
never to return. At the time of Emperor Wu [140-87 B.C.], who 
emphasized rituals, the Yiieh-fu was first established. Through that 
office songs of Chao and Tai were collected, and the melodies of Ch'i 
and Ch'u were preserved. [Li]Yen-nien composed flowing tunes, and 
Chu [Mai-ch'en] and [Ssu]-ma [Hsiang-ju] wrote songs in the style 
of the Sao. The "Kuei-hua" is a mixed tune; it is beautiful but not 
classical; and the "Ch'ih-yen" and other pieces are high-flown but 
not really elegant. 20 The music introduced by Prince Hsien of Ho-chien 
is graceful but seldom employed. It was apropos of the group just 
mentioned that Hsi An remonstrated against the writing of [compara- 
tive trivia, or, as he put it,] "songs in honor of the heavenly horse." 21 
When Emperor Hsiian [73-49 B.C.] came upon the scene, he went 
back to the ya and the sung, and in poetry he tried to imitate the 
spirit of the "Lu-ming." 22 But by the time of the periods of Emperor 
Yuan [48-33 B.C.] and Emperor Ch'eng [32-7 B.C.], vulgar music 
had gradually spread. Orthodox music runs against the current of 
popular taste, and it is very difficult to maintain it. Later ritual anthems 
contain some graceful elements but, although their language may be 
elegant, their music no longer has the quality of the ancient music- 
masters K'uei or K'uang. 
The three rulers of the Wei, 23 quick-witted and richly endowed, 

18 See the Han-shu, "Li-yueh chih." "Wu-te wu" symbolized the happiness the world 
experienced when Kao-tzu brought peace to the chaotic world by means of his military 
campaigns; and "Ssu-shih wu" showed that the world was enjoying peace and 

19 Name of an ancient musical piece. See Choti-li yin-te, 6/ 6a. 

20 These songs are given in the Han-shu, "Li-yueh chih." 

21 Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Shih-chi, "Yiieh-shu." 22 No. 161 in the Boo/{ of Poetry. 

23 Ts'ao Ts'ao, 155-220, Ts'ao P'ei, 187-226, and Ts'ao Jui, who ruled from 227 to 239. 

42 Musical Poetry 

often cut up both words and tunes to form trivial lyrics and common 
rhythms. As for their "Pei-shang" and "Ch'iu-feng" and so on, 24 the 
themes are either carousal or complaints against military campaigns; 
their minds are always preoccupied with inordinate pleasures, and 
their language expressive of mournful thoughts. Although their work 
is consistent with the three tunes of the Han, it is corrupt when com- 
pared with the "Shao-hsia." 25 

In the Chin dynasty there appeared Fu Hsiian with a profound 
understanding of music. He gave grace to the ritual songs he created, 
to be used in the ceremonies of ancestral worship. And Chang Hua's 
new compositions were also used in court dances. Tu K'uei, by retun- 
ing the pitch pipes, imparted ease and grace to the music of the time, 
while Hsun Hsu altered the measurement of the standard pitch, as a 
result of which the traditional tone and rhythm were made, respectively, 
more sad and more rapid. For this reason Juan Hsien contended that 
it represented a deviation from the true traditional tone, and this 
opinion of his was later confirmed by the discovery of an authentic, 
ancient metal rule. 26 These string- and wind-accompanied songs 27 are 

24 "Pei-shang" are the first two characters of a song written by Ts'ao Ts'ao; and 
"Ch'iu-feng" the first two words of a song written by Ts'ao P'ei. 

25 See note 19 above. 

26 In his study of the music of the time, Hsun Hsu discovered some discrepancy 
between different notes. His inference led him to the conclusion that the ancient rule 
was about 4/10 of an inch shorter than the one in use since the Han. So he ordered a 
new rule made, according to which new pitch pipes were constructed. These pipes in 
turn served as standards for the tuning of various instruments. Then the rule was used 
to test ancient extant instruments. He found the measurements thus obtained agreed 
perfectly with the inscriptions on those instruments. And then a jade pipe, a musical stone 
of the Chou time, and a bell of the Han time were unearthed. When the new pipes were 
used to test their tune, they agreed. Now while all people looked upon Hsiin's dis- 
covery with great admiration, Yuan Hsien objected that the note according to the new 
rule was too high. It happened that after Yiian's death a bronze rule was discovered. 
Its inscription was so vague that it was not possible to date it. But there was no doubt 
that it was an ancient rule. And it was 4/10 of an inch longer than that of Hsiin's. But 
the writers of the Chin-shu (to which the reader is referred for further details) con- 
cluded in favor of Hsiin because of the confirmation given him by those ancient instru- 
ments. See the Chin-shu, "Lii-li chih." 

27 "Ho-yiieh" is an abbreviated expression of "Hsiang-ho ko," a form of singing 
accompanied by string, wind (flute), brass, and stone instruments. Liu included in this 
category all the musical pieces he discussed in this chapter. 

Musical Poetry 43 

characterized by refinement and excellence; their external expressions 
and inner sentiments accord perfectly. From this perfect accord we 
know that poetry is the mind of music and sound is its body. Since 
the body of music is sound, blind music masters tune the instruments; 
since the mind of music is poetry, superior men perfect literary forms. 
In "A love of music without indulgence in excesses" 28 lies the reason 
why the customs of the state of Chin were praised; 29 while "[The 
gallant and the girl,] they are going to sport together" 30 spelled the 
downfall of the state of Cheng. 31 Therefore we know that when 
Chi-cha made his judgments, he was listening to the language of the 
songs, not merely the music. 

As for love songs, tender and sentimental or mournful tunes 
expressing final and fateful decisions, 32 they overflowed with sensuous 
language. How, then, was it possible for proper music to emerge? 
However, the popular taste reveled in the new and strange. In the 
presence of classical music, which is mellow and full of dignity, people 
would stretch and yawn; but when they listened to the eccentric 
language [of the Liu Sung love-songs], they would slap the thigh and 
begin to hop up and down like sparrows. This marked the first step 
toward a state of affairs in which both poetry and music were tinged 
by the influence of Cheng. 33 

The words which are set to a piece of music are poetry, and the 
musical sounds of sung poetry are melody. In employing musical 
sounds to accompany the words one often finds that poetry is too 
complicated to be reduced to musical rhythm. Hence, Ch'en Ssu [or 

28 A line from the "Hsi-so" in "T'ang-feng," Mao-shih yin-te, 23/1 14/2. T'ang was 
later the state of Chin. 

29 The praise was expressed by Chi-cha of Wu, who came to the state of Lu on a 
diplomatic mission. See note 15 above. 

30 A line occurring in both stanzas of "Chen-wei" in "Cheng-feng." Mao-shih yin-te, 
I 9/95/ I » 2 - The state of Cheng is known for its love of sensuous pleasure in both 
poetry and music. 

31 Also a judgment expressed by Chi-cha. 

32 "Love songs" presumably refers to poetry by Pao Chao of Liu Sung, 420-479; and 
"mournful tunes" refers to songs expressing the feelings of a deserted wife, such as 
"Pai-t'ou yin." 

33 See note 30 above. 

44 Musical Poetry 

Ts'ao Chih] 34 complimented Li Yen-nien 35 as well-versed in adding 
words to, or subtracting words from, the ancient lyrics [to make them 
fit the new music]. He deleted superfluous words, revealing the value 
of simplicity. The "Ta-feng" of Kao-tsu [of the Han] 36 and the 
"Lai-ch'ih" of Emperor Wu 37 were set to music and sung by boys' 
choruses. In these songs there was no musical discord. Tzu-chien 
[or Ts'ao Chih] and Shih-heng [or Lu Chi] both wrote fine songs; 
but these were never given to the singers, nor accompanied by instru- 
ments. 38 For this reason they were considered discordant by the average 
listener with popular taste. As a matter of fact, the average listener 
lacks imagination. The military songs of Hsuan [the Yellow Emperor] 
and Ch'i [-po] 39 and the elegies of Han times, though differing in 
their themes, the former military and the latter funereal, are both 
included in the Yiieh-fu. And those written by Miu Hsi [of the Wei 
dynasty] could be considered in the same class with these. Long ago, 
when Tzu-cheng [or Liu Hsiang of the Han; 77-6 B.C.] treated 
literary works, he distinguished poetry and songs into two categories. 
It is for this reason that a brief consideration has here been given to 
music, to define its place and function. 

The Tsan: 

The eight timbres 40 introduce musical patterns into literary works, 
In which the words are implanted to express the form. 
Folk songs were sung in the wild, 

34 Known as Prince Ch'en; Ssu was his posthumous title. 

35 A musician during the time of Emperor Wu of the Han. 

36 The first two words of a song Kao-tsu wrote. It is found in the "Yiieh-shu" in 
the Shih-chi. 

37 The last two words of a song written by the emperor mourning the loss of a beauti- 
ful concubine. It is found in the "Wei-ch'i chuan" in the Han-shu. 

38 The word "singers" in the phrase which is here rendered "never given to the 
singers" is actually "wu-chao ling-jen," literally, actors without royal edict. According 
to a note to this term by Chi Yun of the Ch'ing dynasty, all poets during the T'ang 
dynasty who wrote poems according to the patterns of the ancient Yiieh-fu, or created 
new titles for their poems, are known as "Wu-chao ling-jen." This would suggest that 
their poems were not written to be set to music. 

89 See the "Yueh-chih" in the Sung-shu. 

40 Sounds from metal, stone, earthenware, leather, silk, wood, gourd, and bamboo, 
materials out of which musical instruments are made. 

Elucidation of Fu 45 

While melodies drawn from metal and stone filled the steps of the 

It is difficult to recapture the spirit of the ancient music, 
But it is all too easy to encourage a taste for the sounds of Cheng. 
This is true not only for the appreciation of music, 
But also for our grasp of the principle of conduct. 

VIII. Elucidation of Fu 

The Boo\ of Poetry contains six elements, the second of which is 
called fu. Fu means to arrange; it signifies arrangement of the patterns 
that give form to literature, and expresses the feelings that conform 
to objective things. 2 Duke Shao once said that dukes and ministers 
presented poetry, music masters presented chen [admonitions], and 
the blind presented fu. In the Commentary it is said that, "One who 
can write a fu when ascending to the height . . . may be made a 
minister." 3 

In the "Preface" of the Boo\ of Poetry, poetry is considered to belong 
to the same category as fu [inasmuch as fu is there given as one element 
of the book]; but in the commentaries fu is spoken of as a separate 
genre. 4 However, if their ultimate purpose is considered, all are seen 

1 Fu is a genre developed from the poetry of the state of Ch'u, the Ch'u-tz'u. Liu 
Hsieh in this chapter begins by referring to the various senses in which the term fu 
is used, then traces it to its incipient forms in earlier times, determining its relation to 
Ancient Poetry and the Ch'u-tz'u, and finally follows its development to his own time. 

2 The function of fu is to give direct narration, unhampered by either metaphor or 
allegory. We often, however, find fu mixed with both metaphor and allegory. Hence 
another interpretation given by Liu Hsiang: That which is chanted without being sung 
is fu, suggesting thus that there is a special manner in which fu is chanted. For the six 
elements of poetry, see note 2, Chapter V. 

3 Commentary refers to Mao Commentary on the Boo\ of Poetry. The line quoted 
here is taken from the commentary to poem no. 50, "Ting chih fang chung," in the 
"Yung-feng" of the Boo\ of Poetry. 

4 In the "Chou-yii" in the Kuo-yii, fu is mentioned along with shih (poetry), chen 
(admonitions), and chien (remonstrances); in the Mao Commentary, it is separately 
mentioned apart from shih (oaths), shuo (argumentative writings), and lei (elegy). 

46 Elucidation of Fu 

to be trunk and branches of one tree. [To emphasize the independence 
of fu as a coordinate rather than a subordinate form] Liu Hsiang 
showed clearly that it is chanted, not sung; 5 and Pan Ku pronounced 
it to be a later development of the ancient poetry. 6 As for the "Ta-sui" 
of Duke Chuang of Cheng 7 and the "Hu-ch'iu" of Shih Wei, 8 their 
expressions are terse and their lines are short, and all of their poetry is 
their own original creation; but although they follow the form of fu> 
they only marked its dawn, still far from daylight. It was Ling-chim 
[or Ch'u Yuan] who, with his writing of the Sao style, first broadened 
the scope of both its sound patterns and its external expressions. If 
this summary is correct, then fu first received its mandate as a literary 
form in the works of the Ancient Poets and expanded its scope in the 
Ch'u-tz'u. Since then Hsiin K'uang [or Hsiintzu] wrote the fu of "Li" 
and "Chih" 9 and Sung Yii 10 composed the fu of "Feng" 11 and "Tiao." 12 
These writers first gave the name fu to their writings, consciously 
distinguishing it in this way from poetry. Originally a satellite among 
the six elements of poetry, it now assumed the status of a great inde- 
pendent state. The "guest-host" narrative was the first form of fu, 13 
and an elaboration of sounds and external expressions followed, with 
the employment of all the known literary effects. 14 It was the first 
time a distinction was made between poetry and fu, the beginning of 
fu's receiving its distinctive name. 

The Ch'in dynasty was not known for its literary achievements. 
At that time we find some fu in a mixture of forms. The poets at the 

5 The Han-shu, "I-wen chih." This chapter on literature in Pan Ku's Han-shu is based 
on the "Ch'i-liieh," a bibliographical account of seven different categories, including 
classics, their commentaries, speculative writings, poetry, and fu, started by Liu Hsiang 
and completed by his son Liu Hsin of the Han. 

6 See preface of Pan Ku's "Liang-tu fu," in the Wen-hsiian. 

7 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-tc, 3 /Yin 1/3 Tso. 

8 Ibid., 94/Hsi 5/1 Tso. 

9 The Hsiintzu, "Fu-pien" (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), chiian 18, Chapter 26. 

10 Believed to be a disciple of Ch'u Yuan, and flourishing during the third century B.C. 

11 In the Wen-hsiian. 

12 Ku wen-yuan (Wan-yu wen-k'u ed.), chiian II, pp. 63-5. 

13 The "K'e-chu" (guest-host) fu was first started by Hsiin K'uang, in the form of 
a dialogue. Hence the name. 

14 This elaboration refers to Ch'u Yuan. 

Elucidation of Fu 47 

beginning of the Han dynasty wrote them after the earlier pattern. 
Lu Chia attacked the problem very early; Chia I developed the trend; 
Mei Sheng and Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju made the style popular; and Wang 
Pao and Yang Hsiung brought it to powerful fulfillment. And writers 
from Mei Kao and Tung-fang [So] on down treated all kinds of 
subjects. Examples of fu multiplied in the time of Emperor Hsiian 
[73-49 B.C.] and were edited during the reign of Emperor Ch'eng 
[32-7 B.C.]. Those presented for royal perusal amounted to more than 
a thousand. When we examine their sources, we are convinced that 
they originated in the state of Ch'u and reached their height in the 
Han dynasty. The fu on the themes of capitals, palaces, parks, and 
hunting, as well as those describing travels and expressing thought, 15 
are all works whose function is "to set the boundaries of a state and 
to mark the divisions in the country"; 16 [in other words these works 
influenced the conduct of rulers] and their significance lies in their 
glorification of the state. They struck, in their preface, the right note, 
and concluded with summaries in logical order. In the former, the 
main themes are proposed and the fundamental feelings made articu- 
late; and in the latter the logical pattern is given, showing its natural 
rhetorical flow. Since the last stanza of the "No" 17 had been called by 
Min-ma [Fu] the luan [conclusion] 18 we know that both the sung 
compiled by the Yin people and the fu done by the Ch'u poets belong 
to the category of masterpieces and form the pivot of graceful writings. 
As to those works whose themes are plants, animals, and other miscel- 
laneous things, they express feelings which arise in response to external 
situations, feelings which are reactions to chance experiences with 
various scenes. In describing the external situations, the language should 
be delicate and closely knit; and in forging metaphors in relation to 
the nature of things, appropriateness in principle should be emphasized. 

15 On capitals: Pan Ku's "Liang-tu" and Chang Heng's "Erh-ching"; on palaces: 
Wang Yen-shou's "Ling-kuang" and "Ching-fu"; on parks and hunting: fu by Ssu-ma 
Hsiang-ju and Yang Hsiung, such as "Shang-lin," "Kan-ch'iian," "Chiang-yang," and 
"Yu-la." Most fu are found in the Wen-hsiian. 

16 The functions of government offices as defined in the Chou-li. 

17 Mao-shih yin-te, 81/301. 

18 The Kuo-yii, "Lu-yii," hsia. 

48 Elucidation of Fu 

These are in the realm of minor works, but are crucial points in the 
achievement of the qualities of the wondrous and the skillful. 

As for the following ten fu writers: Hsun [K'uang] used riddles to 
state his thought; Sung [Yii] first used the grandiloquent language 
which marked the beginning of the affected patterns; Mei Sheng's 
"T'u-yuan" combines the fundamental with what is new; Hsiang-ju's 
"Shang-lin" employs a variety of images to create the beautiful; Chia I 
in his "Fu-niao" shows keen perception in his analysis of feelings and 
ideas; Tzu-yiian [or Wang Pao] in his "Tung-hsiao" is most accurate 
in imitating the ever-changing patterns of sound and appearance; 
the "Liang-tu" of Meng-chien [or Pan Ku] is clear and graceful; 
Chang Heng's "Erh-ching" is lively and grand; the "Kan-ch'uan" of 
Tzu-yiin [or Yang Hsiung] set the style for profound themes; the 
"Ling-kuang" of [Wang] Yen-shou is filled with images of flight and 
movement. They were all heroes in the realm of the tzu and fu. 

The works of Chung-hsiian [or Wang Ts'an] are fine and detailed 
and they always start out with vigor. Wei-ch'ang [or Hsu Kan] is 
learned and comprehending, and his writings occasionally fall into 
bold colorful patterns. The fu of T'ai-ch'ung [or Tso Ssu] and An-jen 
[or P'an Yueh] established great models for composition on stately 
themes; and those of Shih-heng [or Lu Chi] and Tzu-an [or Wang 
Kung-sui] are solid achievements on popular subjects. Ching-ch'un 
[or Kuo P'u] was sophisticated and clever and his flow of rhetoric 
was bountiful; and Yen-po [or Yuan Hung] dealt in generalities and 
was never exhausted but always full of feelings. These were also the 
leaders of the fu in the Wei and the Chin dynasties. 

The reason for making "ascension to the height" the peculiar quality 
of fu is that it is the sight of concrete objects which excites the emotions. 
Since the emotions have been excited by concrete objects, the ideas 
associated with the objects always remain clear; and since the objects 
are viewed with feeling, the language used to describe them is always 
beautiful. Beautiful language and clear ideas complement each other 
as the symbol and the symbolized. They are like red and purple silk 
in weaving, and black and yellow pigments in painting. The patterns, 

Ode and Pronouncement 49 

though mixed, possess substance, and the colors, though variegated, 
are fundamentally based. This is the main principle of the fu writing. 
However, for those who run after the secondary and overlook 
fundamentals, even if they did read one thousand fu, they would only 
sink deeper in their perplexity about its essential qualities. 19 As a result, 
profuse flowers would tend to ruin the branches and rich viands to 
damage the bone, offering neither the values necessary to maintain 
moral principles nor any aid in the form of admonition and warning. 
It was for this reason that Master Yang [Hsiung] regretted his youthful 
indulgence in the "art of worm-carving," and ridiculed the beautiful 
patterns of fog and clouds. 20 

The Tsan: 
The fu was derived from poetry 
And developed into several different forms. 
In describing objects and picturing appearances 
The richness of its patterns is like that of carving and painting; 
It casts lustre over the dull, 

And paints the commonplace in language that has no limitations. 
In style, its ultimate achievement is beauty under control, 21 
And its language is the result of the cutting out of weeds. 

IX. Ode and Pronouncement (The Sung and the Tsan) 

In the list of the "Four Beginnings," the sung occupies the final 

19 Huan T'an, Hsin-lun, quoted Yang Hsiung as saying: "One who has read one 
thousand fu will be good at it." 

20 Yang Hsiung, Fa-yen, "Wu-tzu pien": "Someone asked, 'When you were young 
you loved fu, did you not?' 'Yes, but it was the worm- and seal-carving of a child.' In 
a little while he continued, 'An adult will not do it.' . . . Someone said, 'But it has 
the beautiful patterns of fog and clouds!' [Yang] said, 'That would be just moth-worm 
to a seamstress's work.' " 

21 Yang Hsiung, Fa-yen, "Wu-tzu,": "The fu of the ancient poets has beauty 
which is under control; and that of later literary men has beauty which is infected with 

50 Ode and Pronouncement 

position. Sung means to describe a spectacle; its function is to praise 
great virtue and describe the performance of rites honoring it. 1 During 
the time of Ruler K'u, Hsien Mo wrote sung to be set to the music of 
"chiu-shao." 2 Since the Shang dynasty, the genre has been complete 
with words and form. 

Feng is that form whose influence reaches the limit of a state; ya is 
that form whose corrective influence reaches the four directions of 
the realm; and sung is that which is used in ceremonies before, and 
prayers to, the spirits. The feng and the two ya, concerned with human 
affairs, are of two types: the modified and the correct. 3 But the sung's 
main function is to appeal to the spirits; hence it should be perfect. 
The sung of Lu glorifies Duke Tan [of Chou], and the sung of Shang 
records the merits of earlier kings. Both are songs proper for temple 
rites and are not ordinary pieces to be sung during feasts. The "Shih- 
mai" 4 was written by Duke Chou; 5 and in the sung of this sage we 
find the model of the genre. But all people have their own minds, and 
there is no stopping their mouths. The Chin carriage driver's praise 
of the fields on the plain 6 and the satire of the people of Lu on 
[Confucius' leather] knee guard 7 were originally straightforward 
statements which were not sung: they were short exhortations or 
satires. But [Tso] Ch'iu-ming 8 and Tzu-kao 9 turned them into sung. 

1 Cf. note 4, Chapter III. The sung refers particularly to the last section of the 
of Poetry, which consists of songs sung in accompaniment to dances during ceremonial 
rites in honor of the ancestors of the dynasty makers. It is here that we find poetry, 
music, and dance linked together to perform one function. 

2 See Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu, "Chung-hsia chi," "Ku-yiieh p'ien." 

3 For the explanation of the ideas of the modified and correct forms, see "The Great 
Preface" in the Mao version of the Boo\ of Poetry, attributed first to Tzu-hsia, a disciple 
of Confucius, and later to Wei Hung of the later Han. 

4 The Mao-shih yin-te, 75/273. 

5 About the affairs of King Wu. See the Kuo-yii, "Chou-yii," and Ch'un-ch'iu ching- 
chuan yin-te, 199/Hsiian 12/3 Tso. 

Q Ibid., 132/Hsi 28/5 Tso. 

7 In K'ung-ts'ung-tzu, "Ch'en wang-i pien," it is stated that when Confucius first 
served the state of Lu as its prime minister, the people of Lu ridiculed him for his 
leather kneecap. But three years later, when Confucius succeeded in bringing about the 
transformation of the land, the people began to sing their praise of him. 

8 The supposed author of the Tso-chuan. 

9 Alias K'ung Ch'uang, and not the man our author wanted to refer to. He seems to 

Ode and Pronouncement 51 

These are cases of "plain sung" in which the sung form was modified 
to include subject-matter from the affairs of men. When San-lii 10 
wrote his "Orange Sung' he imparted to it a colorful language of 
exquisite fragrance and taste, steeped in metaphor and allegory. Here 
even the orange, a thing of little importance, received the treatment 
of sung. 

Emperor Cheng of the Ch'in had sung engraved on tablets to 
commemorate his own achievements. Emperor Hui and Emperor 
Ching of the Han, too, had the virtues of their ancestors sung. This 
practice of sung- writing was continued generation after generation. 

As for the sung by Tzu-yiin [or Yang Hsiung] in honor of Ch'ung- 
kuo, 11 the sung by Meng-chien [or Pan Ku] to Marquis Tai, 12 
Wu-chung's [or Fu Fs] commemoration of Hsien-tsung [Emperor 
Ming of the later Han], and Shih Ts'en's eulogy of Empress Hsi, 13 
they either imitated the style of the "Ch'ing-miao," 14 or modeled 
themselves on the "Chiung" 15 and the "No"; 16 although they differ 
in depth and detail, they have the same function in that they commemo- 
rate the virtuous and describe their ceremonial rites, and are thus 
alike in being elegant documents of the state. 

In the "Pei-cheng" of Pan [Ku] and the "Hsi-cheng" 17 of Fu [I], 
we find that what are designated as sung have been transformed into 
mere prefaces. And is this not to praise the erroneous, and thus do 
violence to the form? And the "Kuang-ch'eng" and "Shang-lin" of 
Ma Yung [79-166] are graceful like fu. How he sacrificed the substance 
in his love for rhetoric! On the other hand, both Ts'ui Yiian's "Wen- 
hsiieh" and Ts'ai Yung's "Fan-ch'ii" give beauty to prefaces and are 
brief and simple; Chih Yii's critical writing is fine and clear, but when 

have made a mistake about the identity of his man: the one he wanted is Tzu-shun, 
quoted in K 'ung-ts 'ung-tzu, the source of his information. 

10 The title of Ch'ii Yiian's office, the function of which was to be in charge of the 
education of the young nobles of the royal clans in the state of Ch'u. 

11 The Han-shu, biography of Chao Ch'ung-kuo. 

12 The title of Tou Jung. See the T'ai-p'ing yii-lan, chiian 588, where the Wen-chang 
liu-pieh lun by Chih Yii is quoted on this point. 

13 She became empress in A.D. 102. 14 Mao-shih yin-te, 75/266. 
15 Ibid., 79/297. 16 Ibid., 81/301. 

17 Ch'uan-hou-han wen contains Fu I's "Hsi-cheng." 

52 Ode and Pronouncement 

[passing judgments on Yang Hsiung's "Ch'ung-kuo" sung or Fu Fs 
"Hsien-tsung" sung] he treated the sung together with both feng and 
ya without discriminating between their purposes, he was advancing 
unsound theory, similar to the absurd discussion of yellow and white. 18 

During the Wei and the Chin few sung got out of the rut. Of the 
works by Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao Chih], the "Huangtzu" is outstanding; 
and among the many pieces by Lu Chi, the "Kung-ch'en" is the most 
prominent. The fact that they mixed praise and censure in the same 
piece is indeed an example of the corrupt style of an age of decline. 19 

The sung must possess the qualities of elegance and grace, and its 
language has to be clear and bright. In its narration it is similar to 
the fu, but it must not succumb to florid and excessive language. It has 
the spirit of reverence and prudence which characterizes the ming, or 
inscription, but differs from it in not being admonition or warning. In 
its praise and honoring of its subject, it formulates beautiful expressions, 
but its content has the broadest scope. It has finesse and artifice adapted 
to the feelings aroused. This is the essence of the sung. 

The term tsan means "to pronounce and assist." Formerly, during 
the worship of Yii-shun, 20 the music master repeated the tsan, which 
was the initial pronouncement of the ceremony. When I 21 "assisted" 
Yu, and I Chih 22 "assisted" Wu Hsien, 23 they both made laudatory 
pronouncements in a loud voice, giving assistance by rendering in 
exclamations that which was beyond language. Therefore, when the 
Court of State Ceremony was first created during the Han, such pro- 

18 Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu, "Pieh-lei pien": "A sword expert said, 'Its [the sword's] white 
color means that it is hard, and its yellow color means that it is strong. Now the yellow 
color is mixed with the white; it must be both hard and strong. It is a good sword.' 
The objector said, 'Its white color means that it is not strong, and its yellow color means 
that it is not hard. Now the yellow color is mixed with the white; it must be neither 
hard nor strong. How can it be a good [sharp] sword?' " 

19 The original function of the sung is to praise, and never to censure. 

20 See note 13, Chapter V. 

21 1 was Yu's minister, to whom Yii tried to give his rule in the manner of Yao and 

22 Another name for I Yin, a minister of T'ang of the Shang dynasty. 

23 There were three persons of this name: a sorcerer at the time of the Yellow 
Emperor, a sorcerer during the Shang, and a medical doctor of Yao. Since I Chih is 
I Yin, we shall assume that the second Wu Hsien is meant. A sorcerer in ancient times 
was prominent in ceremonies. 

Ode and Pronouncement 53 

nouncements were designated tsan, an ancient term. But [Ssu-ma] 
Hsiang-ju was the first author to try his brush on a tsan, one which 
commemorated Ching K'o. 24 In the historical works of Ssu-ma Ch'ien 
and Pan Ku, tsan were employed to express both praise and censure. 
These gave summaries in terse language and adopted the style of the 
sung for pronouncing judgments. And the critical remarks at the end 
of chi, or chronicles of rulers, and chuan, or biographies, are also given 
the same name tsan. And yet Chung-ch'ia [or Chih Yii] 25 erroneously 
called them shu, or narratives. This was indeed wide of the mark. 
When Chin-ch'un [or Kuo P'u] made his commentary on the ya he 
wrote tsan for all animals and plants. What he treated included both 
the praise and the censure. This type of tsan may be likened to the 
modified type of sung. But the original idea of the tsan developed out 
of the desire to express praise or admiration. For this reason its style 
has always been terse, allowing little room for expansion. Its lines are 
always in the four-word pattern, and its rhymes are limited. Its guid- 
ing principle is to employ brevity of language to portray adequately 
the feelings involved and to develop its literary expressions with 
emphasis on lucidity. Although its roots strike deep into the past, it 
has seldom been put to use. In general it may be considered a branch 
of the sung. 

The Tsan: 
To give dignity to ceremonies the sung is the proper form, 
And to perpetuate achievements one employs the tsan. 
Both carve colorful designs and spread out literary patterns; 
Both are sonorous and brilliant. 
Old in years and distant in time, 

Their beautiful music may still be likened to the dawn. 
But when they are applied to common things, 
Their dazzling language soon invites boredom. 

24 A heroic soul during the Warring States period, who was sent as an assassin to kill 
the King of Ch'in. 

25 Flourishing in the third century. 

X. Sacrificial Prayer and Oath of Agreement (The Chu 
and the Meng) 1 

The position of heaven and earth having been fixed, sacrifice is offered 
to all the deities. After the worship of the six subjects 2 has been per- 
formed and sacrificial ceremonies to the hills and streams have been 
properly administered, there will be seasonal rain and gentle breezes, 
giving life to corn and millet. For this reason the people pay these deities 
whom they worship good measure in return. The fragrance of great 
sacrifice 3 arises from one's enlightened virtue; and the words of faith 
offered by the sacrificial officials must be of literary excellence. Long 
ago I Ch'i 4 initiated the twelfth-moon sacrifice to be offered to the 
eight deities. Its words are: "Let earth return to its habitat and water 
to its gully, and let no insects appear, and may all grasses and plants 
return to their marshy place." These are the words of the sacrificial 
prayer of Shen Nung. 5 

The words of Shun's prayer to the deity of the field run: "I carry 
this plough to till the southern field. May all the people within the four 
seas share this abundance." His devotion to the interest of the people 
is clearly shown in these words. And Li [T'ang] of Shang, with his 
sage reverence increasing day by day, sacrificed to heaven with a black 
bull, pleading that if any sin should be committed anywhere within 
the realm he might assume the responsibility for it. These are the words 
of his prayer to heaven. During the time of drought T'ang again 
prayed in a carriage of white, 6 and in the prayer he chided himself 
for six things. 7 These are the words of prayers for seasonal rain and 
the proper regulation of other elements of nature. 

1 In this chapter, Liu Hsieh traces the chu and the meng to their earliest forms. Since 
both involve an appeal to deities, they are grouped together. 

2 The four seasons, cold and heat, the sun, the moon, the stars, and flood and 

3 Referring to the acceptance of the sacrifice by deities. 

4 Identified as either Shen Nung, the divine farmer, or Yao, the legendary emperor. 

5 See Li-chi, "Chiao t'e sheng." Li-chi yin-te, 11/21. 

6 White is symbolic of grief. 

7 The prayer is preserved in the Hsiintzu, "Ta-liieh p'ien." The six things are: (1) 

Sacrificial Prayer and Agreement 55 

The officer of sacrifice during the Chou dynasty was in charge of 
the six prayers offered in the six sacrifices: "Myriads of things all have 
their life" 8 was presented before the sacrifice of heaven and earth; 
"Universally acting in dignity" was sung at the ceremonies to welcome 
the sun; "Rising early and retiring late" was a prayer said before 
the ancestral temples; "Happiness bountiful and without limit" was 
included in the prayer offered while sacrificing sheep to the deities; 
and during the sacrifice offered either to the god of earth, or to the 
supreme Deity on the battlefield, there were always literary expressions. 
For it was in these expressions that the ancients showed reverence 
to gods and respect to ancestors. 

Since the time of Ch'un-ch'iu, sacrilege has been committed in the 
adulation and flattery practiced at sacrifices. Officers of sacrifice were 
corrupted by bribes, and historians indulged in ornate rhetoric which 
dispersed the deities, who ceased to honor the sacrifices by descending. 

When Chang Lao congratulated [Chao Wu-tzu] on the completion 
of his house, his words of congratulation were considered good prayers 
either for rejoicing or for mourning. 9 K'uai K'uei was blessed because 
of his prayer in battle about his tendons and bones. 10 Even under 
adverse circumstances, people always resorted to prayers. 

As for the "Chao-hun" in the Ch'u-tz'u, it may be considered the 
pattern of beauty for prayers. The various sacrifices of the Han 11 
revealed the functions of prayers and the manner in which they were 
performed. They contain in them the ideas of great scholars, but include 
also some suggestions from necromancers. So, the secret prayers to 
shift calamities [from the royal person to the people] were vastly 

intemperate government, (2) causing the people to suffer, (3) luxury in the palaces, 
(4) interference in government by palace women, (5) bribery, and (6) employment of 
sycophants. In his prayer T'ang asked if these were the reasons for the drought. 

8 A line of the prayer during a sacrifice to heaven; similar ideas are expressed in the 
prayer to earth. See Ta-tai li-chi, "Kung-kuan p'ien." 

9 See Li-chi, "T'an-kung," hsia. Li-chi yin-tc, 4/64. 

10 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chnan yin-te, 469/Ai 2/7 Tso. K'uai K'uei was the heir to the 
throne of Wei. There was a rebellion in the state and he took part in the suppression. 
About to go into battle, he prayed that his tendons and bones might suffer no mishap. 

11 See Shih-chi, "Feng-shan shu." 

56 Sacrificial Prayer and Agreement 

different in spirit from those of T'ang. 12 And the practice of using 
little children to drive away the imps of pestilence was similar in spirit 
to the curse of the sorcerers of Yiieh. 13 The principle of conduct was 
gradually losing its hold on society. 

Since the Yellow Emperor's malediction against the perverse, and 
Tung-fang So's scolding of the ghosts, later imprecations upon evil 
have all been characterized by clever anathema, the only exception 
being Ch'en-ssu's [or Ts'ao Chih's] prayer against the calamity of 
storm, which was offered in a spirit of righteousness. 14 

According to the accepted rule, the function of a sacrificial prayer 
was limited to the reporting of events. But the sacrificial pieces of the 
middle periods 15 contain praises for good words and conduct. This 
inclusion of the act of praising in a sacrificial piece was an expansion 
of the function of the genre. 

Again, during Han times there were elegiac edicts on occasions of 
royal mourning; and when Chou [or King Mu] lost his concubine 
Sheng-chi, the historian of the inner palace presented the elegiac edict. 
According to these evidences, the elegiac edict was originally an edict 
whose purpose was to confer honor, but since the occasion was a sad 
one, the language was chosen to accord with that mood. So the elegiac 
edict has the same significance as the lei, or simple elegy, except that 
its words are addressed to spirits. It begins like the lei and ends on an 
elegiac note; it has the style of a sung and the form of a prayer. [This 
last is true because] the grand historian 16 modeled his pronouncement 
after the prayer of Chou times. 

Whenever words are purposefully grouped together, flowery pat- 
terns are developed; but in the invocation of the spirits, real feeling 
must be stressed. Both for refining the language and for establishing 
one's sincerity, the necessary condition is to have a clear conscience. 
The spirit in which a prayer is said must be one of sincerity and 

12 See note 7 above. 

13 The people of Yiieh believed in ghosts and sorcery. See Han-shu, "Chiao-ssu chih." 

14 The piece is quoted in the l-wen lei-chii, chiian 100. 

15 Apparently referring to the Han and the Wei periods. 

16 In ancient China a grand historian was in charge of mourning ceremonies. 

Sacrificial Prayer and Agreement 57 

reverence; and the form in which sacrifices are offered should be one 
of respect and contrition. These are the main ideas. The sacrificial 
piece offered to the Meng-shan by Pan Ku is the very model of sin- 
cerity and reverence in a prayer; 17 and P'an Yueh's elegy on his wife 
Yu expresses the essence of respect and grief in sacrifice. 18 If these 
pieces are studied thoroughly, the secret of their success will be 
clearly seen. 

The term meng means to make clear [or to declare]. With red bull, 
white horse, pearl tray, and jade vessel, 19 the parties declared their 
intentions at dawn before the spirits. During the times of the Three 
Ancient Kings, 20 the forms of oath and declaration 21 were not used. 
When they found it necessary to swear in signing an agreement, they 
gave their words and withdrew. During the decline of the Chou 
dynasty, there were many declarations of agreement; at times these 
were concluded by force. The practice started with Ts'ao Mo 22 and 
was finally resorted to by Mao Sui. 28 King Chao of the state of Ch'in 
made an oath promising the I tribe a gift of yellow dragons in his 
agreement with them; 24 and the first ruler of the Han swore by the 
mountains and rivers in the statement he made when he created the 
dukedoms. 25 But only when the righteous principle underlying it was 
maintained was it possible to fulfill the conditions of the agreement. 
As soon as the principle came to be neglected, the agreement was also 
thrown to the winds. Whether an agreement is to be respected or 
ignored lies completely in the hands of men: the oath has nothing to 

17 Fragments of this piece are preserved in Yen K'o-chun's Ch'uan-hou-han wen, 
chiian 26. 

18 Fragments of this piece are preserved in l-wen lei-chii, chiian 38. 

19 At a ceremony where intentions were declared in a treaty to be signed, a red bull 
or white horse was used. The tray was used to hold the blood and the vessel the food. 
The ears of the bull were cut and put in the tray, which was held in the hands of the 
leader of a confederation. Hence the term "holding the ears of a bull" means leadership. 

20 The first kings of the Hsia, Shang, and Chou. 

21 The declaration is in the form of an oath, stating that if either party should break 
the contract agreed upon that party should be destroyed by heaven, spirits, and men. 

22 See Shih-chi, "Tzih-k'o lieh chuan." 23 See Shih-Chi, biography of P'ing-yiian Chun. 
24 Ch'ang Chii, Hua-yang \uo-chih. King Chao promised the I tribe a pair of yellow 

dragons should Ch'in attack I. 

26 Shih-chi, "Kung-ch'en hou nicn-piao." 

58 Sacrificial Prayer and Agreement 

do with it. The oath Tsang Hung wrote to accompany the ceremony of 
dipping the fingers in blood has enough righteous force to shatter the 
clouds; 26 the iron oath of Liu K'un [of the Chin] possesses spirit so 
subtly moving that it even affected the sleet and frost. 27 But these oaths 
did no good to either the Han or the Chin : on the contrary, the parties 
to the agreement became enemies. Therefore we know that when sin- 
cerity is not at the bottom of one's heart, there is no use in agreements. 
The main points to cover in drawing up an agreement are these: 
state the crisis, encourage loyalty and filial piety, pledge each other to 
share the same fate of life or death, pledge each other to work together, 
pray to the spirits to witness the agreement, invoke the nine heavens 
as judge, 28 establish sincerity with earnestness, and express all these 
things with all soberness in literary language. They are the elements 
common to all agreements. However, it is not the language which is 
difficult to produce; what is difficult is to keep the agreement expressed 
in that language. Let all people coming afterward note that loyalty and 
sincerity are enough, and that there is no need to depend on the spirits. 

The Tsan : 
Worship with piety and conclude declarations of intention with 

The sacrificial officers furnish words for these acts. 
The attainment of sincerity depends on the attitude of reverence, 
And the language must be sweet. 

In later periods writers indulged in excessive ornamentation, 
And their words are spun into tapestries of red and blue. 
But to get the spirits to come and accept the sacrifice 
It is important that one's conscience be clear. 

26 Hou-han shu, biography of Tsang Hung. All forces joined together against Tung 
Tso at the end of the Han dynasty, and this was an occasion for all of them to stick 
their fingers in the blood of the bull. Tsang Hung was the one who came forward to give 
the oath when nobody else seemed to dare to assume the responsibility, for it required a 
great deal of literary talent. 

27 The Chin was under the threat of barbarian invasion. Liu and Tuan P'i-ti swore 
to come to each other's assistance in defending the Chin against the barbarians. The 
oath is quoted in 1-wen lei-chii, chuan 33. 

28 This phrase is quoted from the Li-sao. 

XL Inscription and Exhortation (The Ming and the Chen) 

The Yellow Emperor long ago carved sayings on his carriage and 
desks to admonish himself lest he should falter; and the Great Yti of 
the Hsia dynasty chiseled sentences on drum and bell frames to serve 
as remonstrances. Ch'eng-t'ang of the Shang cut the "Rule for Daily 
Renewal" on his trays and basins; 1 and King Wu of the Chou wrote 
on the doors and mats teachings that would keep him vigilant. The 
Duke of Chou left on a bronze statue words urging caution in speak- 
ing; and Confucius made an about-face at the warning of a tilted 
vessel. 2 The sages long ago recognized the necessity of keeping oneself 

The term ming means to name; to distinguish an article necessarily 
entails calling it by name. To make this appellation correct and assay 
its connotation, great moral development is essential. 3 Tsang Wu- 
chung, in his discussion of the ming^ said, "They deal with the virtues 
of the Son of Heaven, the achievements of the lords, and the military 
merits of the ministers." 4 The writing on the tripod which the Hsia 
dynasty cast from the tribute bronze offered by the chiefs of the nine 
districts 5 and the Chou inscription on the buckthorn arrow presented 
by the Su-shen tribe 6 are examples of inscriptions commemorating 
virtues of the Son of Heaven. The epigraph for Lii Wang 7 on the 

1 This rule exhorts one to renew oneself, that is, to improve, with the coming of each 
new day. See Li-chi, "Ta-hsiieh p'ien." 

2 The lesson of the tilted vessel: when empty, it tilted; when filled to the middle, it 
sat up straight; and when full, it toppled. 

3 The name, as here used, must not only denote the article to which it is given but 
also connote a virtue which the name of the article suggests. Hence, "to name" actually 
means to suggest a moral exhortation in an inscribed appellation. For these moral 
achievements are what the name connotes. Without these connotative contents the name 
cannot be considered as correct. 

4 See Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 289/Hsiang 19/4 Tso fu 2. 

5 The tribute was an expression of appreciation on the part of the nine chiefs for 
the virtue of the Hsia ruler. See ibid., 182/Hsiian 3/5 Tso. 

6 King Wu triumphed over the Shang, and the Su-shen tribe came to court with the 
buckthorn arrow as tribute. King Wu ordered that the good virtues of the early kings 
be commemorated in an inscription on the arrow. See Kuo-yii, "Lu-yu," hsia. 

7 Lii Wang was King Wu's chief adviser. 

6o Inscription and Exhortation 

vessel cast by K'un-wu 8 and the inscription on the conquered tribe's 
Chung-shan Fu tripod 9 speak of lords' achievements. And Wei K'o's 
record of military exploits on the Bell of Ching 10 and K'ung K'uei's 
register of the merits [of the ancestors of Wei] on the Wei tripod 11 
are concerned with ministers' military merits. 

The bestowal on Fei Lien of a stone sarcophagus 12 and the discovery 
of the posthumous title of Duke Ling [of Wei] in his burial ground 13 
are indeed weird tales, dealing as they do with inscriptions on under- 
ground stone. And there are also quite ridiculous examples: King 
Wu-ling of the state of Chao had footprints carved on the city wall 
of Po-wu, and King Chao of the state of Ch'in ordered a chess game 
made on the top of Mount Hua; both were bent on showing off to 
posterity by these absurdities. 14 After examining these examples, the 
proper significance of an inscription must have become clear to us. 

Ch'in Shih-huang's inscriptions on mountains are beautiful and 
erudite; although his government was ruthless, these inscriptions have 
real literary brilliance. Pan Ku's epigraph on Mount Yen-jan and that 
left by Chang Ch'ang on the slab at Hua-yin 15 may be considered the 

8 A great metallurgist in ancient times. 

9 The Southern Huns; during the Later Han period, they were brought under control 
by Tou Hsien, to whom they presented this tripod. 

10 See Kuo-yii, "Chin-yu." The event took place in the fifteenth year (?) of Duke 
Hsiian of Lu. "Ching" refers to Duke Ching of Chin. 

11 See Li-chi, "Chi-t'ung." Li-chi yin-te, 25/23. 

12 The Shih-chi, chronology of Ch'in State. Fei Lien, a minister of the Shang dynasty, 
was building an altar at Huo t'ai-shan when a stone coffin was unearthed, on which was 
found an inscription saying that the coffin was given to Fei Lien for his loyalty. 

13 See Chuangtzu, "Tse-yang p'ien," and Chang Hua's Po-wu chih, "I-wen p'ien." 

14 Po-wu is a city in modern Ho-pei; Chao's footprints are said to be three feet wide 
and five feet long; with the caption: "Chu-fu [the title the king conferred upon himself 
while still living] frequented this place." King Chao's chess game consisted of six chien 
(I am not quite sure what a chien or a chu, a dictionary definition of chien, would be.) 
each eight feet long, and twelve chessmen, each eight inches tall, with the inscription: 
"King Chao often played the game with heavenly deities at this spot." In the case of 
King Wu-ling, we know he made up his own posthumous name; but in the case of King 
Chao, no such information is available. From this consideration, the tale seems to be a 
later forgery. 

15 Tou Hsien, a general of the Later Han, after pacifying the northern frontier, 
ascended Mount Yen-jan and had slabs erected for the recording of his military achieve- 
ments. Pan Ku was responsible for the text of the inscription. See Hou-han shu, biography 
of Tou Hsien. Chang Ch'ang's text is found in the Ku- wen-yuan, chiian 18. 

Inscription and Exhortation 61 

best of epigraphs. Ts'ai Yung's works are characterized by a fullness 
of feeling, standing all alone in all times. His words on the halberd 
of General Ch'iao breathe the classical spirit, and his words on the Chu 
Mu tripod are a perfect model of stone inscription. For here he indulged 
in that in which he was particularly well-versed. The words of Ching- 
t'ung [Feng Yen] put on various weapons follow the prosodic form 
of wu-mingy 16 but they deal with events which are not pertinent to the 
weapons, and furthermore, they are either too verbose or too brief, 
never managing to strike a happy medium. And Ts'ui Yin's weapon 
inscriptions are mostly laudatory; only a few are admonitory. Li Yu's 
writings are limited in ideas and lacking in rhetorical organization; he 
mixed inscriptions on the divine milfoil plants and tortoise shells with 
those on games and chess, and placed those on balance and bushel, im- 
portant in measurement, after those on mortars and pestles. Since he 
did not even take time to distinguish the proper categories and relative 
importance of the articles he treated, how can we expect him to have 
paid attention to the inner structure [or moral connotations] of these 
things ? The nine precious weapons of Emperor Wen of Wei 17 are sharp, 
and yet their inscriptions are blunt. Chang Tsai alone, in the piece he 
inscribed at Chien-ke, 18 reveals a talent of crystal beauty. Fleet-footed, 
he arrived ahead of others, though he had a slow start. In inscribing 
this work on the Min and the Han 19 he indeed attained what was 
appropriate to the genre. 

The function of the chen, or exhortation, literally "needle," is to 
attack sickness and prevent disease [of character], as the therapeutic 
puncture does in medicine. This form of writing flourished during the 
Three Dynasties. Only fragments of two pieces from the Hsia and 
the Shang are still extant; and in the Chou dynasty, of the "Pai-kuan 
chen," or "Exhortations to the King by a Hundred Officials" ordered 
by Hsin Chia, 20 only the "Yu-chen" or "Exhortation by Hunters" is a 
piece perfect in both form and ideas. By the time of the Ch'un-ch'iu 

16 Inscription on a military weapon. 17 Ts'ao P'ei. 

18 In Szechuan, bordering on Shen-hsi. 19 Two rivers flowing through Szechuan. 

20 Hsin Chia was a grand historian during the time of King Wu. 

62 Inscription and Exhortation 

period, the form had declined, but its tradition was still continued. 
Thus we have a chen of Wei Chiang, who warned his ruler 21 by 
referring to the conduct of Hou-i 22 and the chen of the ruler of Ch'u, 
who counseled his people to work hard. 23 Since the Warring States 
period, the inculcation of virtue has been discarded and the recording 
of achievements emphasized, so that the ming has taken the place of 
the chen, which is now neglected. But to Yang Hsiung, who delved 
into the tradition of ancient times, the Yu-chen became the model for 
his twenty-five pieces on the minister, magistrate, prefect, and governor. 
Later Ts'ui and Hu 24 filled the lacunae and completed what is col- 
lectively known as the "Pai-kuan," or the "One Hundred Offices." 
These pieces define the functions and ranks of the hundred offices, 
like a pendant mirror 25 giving definite warnings and admonitions; they, 
indeed, were written in the purity of style of ancient times [the Hsia 
and the Shang], and ascended to the height attained by Hsin Chia in 
a later period [the Chou]. We do have also P'an Hsu's compositions on 
tallies, which are pertinent but shallow, and the piece by Wen Ch'iao, 
which is learned but overburdened; Wang Chi's work on "Kuo-tzu" 26 
teems with quotations, but the facts are unsystematically arranged; 
while P'an Ni's piece on carriages, though containing correct moral 
principles, is full of weeds. 27 Few of these later works are able to 
achieve the proper standard. As to Wang Lang's chen on miscellaneous 
articles, those on napkins and shoes may have the spirit of warning, 
but they are, in fact, inappropriate. They do conform to the rules of 
the chieh, or warning 28 and the ming or inscription, in that they are 

21 The Duke of Chin. 

22 Hou-i lost his kingdom because he loved hunting, and the Duke of Chin loved 
hunting, too. Hence the reference to Hou-i, who is mentioned in the Yu-chen. See 
Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 258/Hsiang 4/7 Tso fu I. 

23 See ibid., 197/Hsiian 12/3 Tso. 

24 Ts'ui Yin and Ts'ui Yuan; Hu Kuang. 

25 A mirror used as a pendant, with the function of showing if one is properly 
groomed. By extension it becomes a symbol for warning or admonition. 

26 The National Academy, of which Wang Chi was once the chancellor. 

27 Verbose in style. 

28 Previously Liu Hsieh used chieh as a verb, i.e., to warn, which has affinity with 
exhortation, i.e., chen. Apparently it is introduced here as a synonym of chen. 

Inscription and Exhortation 63 

terse and concerned only with essentials; but the chen on water, fire, 
well, and stove are loquacious without end. All this is due to his per- 
sonal idiosyncrasy. 

The chen is intended to be recited at court, 29 while the ming is to 
be inscribed on vessels. Though they differ in name and function, they 
share a common quality in their spirit of warning. The sole purpose 
of the chen is to prevent mistakes, hence its language is solid and 
pertinent; but the ming has the additional function of giving praise, 
hence its style must be grand and brilliant. The matters selected for 
treatment must be appropriate and clearly presented; and the language 
used should be simple and yet profound. In these requirements are 
summed up the main ideas of these genres. However, as the pieces in- 
scribed on the arrow and the tripod of the conquered states 30 have been 
scattered, the difference in the uses of the chen and the ming have 
seldom been applied in later times. It is up to the writers to judge for 
themselves in selecting important subjects. 

The Tsan: 
The ming expresses the moral ideas implied in the name of articles, 
While the chen suggests moral principles. 
There are some words we may well wear as our "inscriptions," 
But water can never be used as a mirror can [either to reflect truly or 

to bear an inscription]. 
Hold fast to this principle of truthfulness and self-admonishment, 
And be reverential in word and deed. 
Ideas of classic grace are naturally grand, 
And the pithy phrase is always a thing of beauty. 

29 Music masters presented the chen at court. See the Kuo-yu, "Chou-yii." 

30 See notes 6 and 9 above. 

XII. Elegy and Stone Inscription (The Lei and the Pei) 

The Chou was a dynasty of great virtues, and ming, or inscriptions, 
and lei, or elegy, were written to commemorate them. Those who can 
write an elegy on the occasion of a death are capable of being ministers. 
To write an elegy is to sum up, that is, to sum up the virtuous conduct 
of the deceased and immortalize it. Very little is known to us about the 
writing of elegy before and during the Hsia and the Shang. During 
the Chou dynasty elegies were written, but they were never written 
for a shih. 1 Furthermore, it was not the practice for a person inferior 
in social status to write an elegy for his superior, or for a younger man 
to write an elegy for an older one. 2 In the case of the ruler, heaven was 
invoked to write his elegy. 3 To read an elegy before the dead and to 
confer upon him a posthumous title is a ceremony of very great im- 
portance. It was after the battle of Ch'eng-ch'iu, where the Duke of 
Lu fought [the forces of the state of Sung], that an elegy was first 
written in honor of a shih. 4 When Confucius died, Duke Ai of Lu 
wrote the elegy. Although it is not a work of profundity, in the depth 
of feeling expressed it has preserved for us the ancient tradition of this 
form of writing. 5 

With the elegy written for Huitzu by his wife, the language became 
sad and the rhythm prolonged. 6 During the Han dynasty, elegies were 
written in this latter vein. The one by Yang Hsiung for Empress Yuan 
tends towards verbosity. 7 Its important lines, including the one which 
mentions "Sha-lu," 8 have been quoted, but Chih [-yii] suspected that 

1 Member of the lowest rank in the official hierarchy. 

*Li-chi yin-te, 7/28. 3 Ibid., 7/28. 4 Ibid., 3/17. 

5 The elegy is preserved in the Tso-chuan, Duke of Ai, sixteenth year, Ch'un-ch'iu 
ching-chuan yin-te, 492/Ai 16/4 Tso. See also Li-chi, 3/107. 

6 Preserved in Liu Hsiang's Lieh-nii chuan. It may not be authentic. "Huitzu" is the 
posthumous name given to Chan Ch'in by his wife. He flourished during the Ch'un-ch'iu 
period and lived at Liu-hsia in the state of Lu; hence he was known as Liu Hsia. The 
posthumous name "Hui" means benevolence. 

7 The empress was the consort of Emperor Yuan, 48-33 B.C., and the mother of 
Emperor Ch'eng, 32-7 B.C. The elegy is found in Ku wen-yuan, chuan 20. 

8 Four lines of the elegy are found in the biography of Empress Yuan in the Han-shu 
by Pan Ku. Sha-lu is the name of a mountain in Ho-pei. 

Elegy and Stone Inscription 65 

this quotation was the whole piece. 9 As a matter of fact, would it be 
possible to give a full account of the collected virtues of, and do proper 
honor to, a royal personage in four brief lines? Elegies written by Tu 
Tu 10 have achieved fame before the time of the present generation. 
But though the piece for Wu [Han] is good, his other pieces are rather 
weak. Could it be that Emperor Kuang-wu's 11 praise of him changed 
people's evaluation of his works? 12 Fu I's elegies are well-organized 
and well-proportioned. And those by Su Shun 13 and Ts'ui Yuan are 
logical and clear. Their narratives read like biographies, their language 
is beautiful, and their tonal arrangements have a pleasant effect. They 
were unquestionably talented writers of the elegy. P'an Yueh, in or- 
ganizing his ideas, followed especially the example of Hsiao-shan [or 
Su Shun]; he is good at expressing sorrow, and creates fresh and 
felicitous expressions with ease. For this reason he is looked upon by 
people of later dynasties as one who brightened the beauty of the genre. 
Ts'ui Yin's elegy for Chao and Liu T'ao's for Huang 14 both capture 
the spirit of the genre, and their beauty lies in their brevity and rele- 
vance. Those of Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao Chih] have achieved a great name, 
but their style is long-winded and drawn out. In the last part of his 
elegy for his brother, Emperor Wen, for about one hundred lines he 
indulged in talking about himself. This is a serious departure from 
the ideal standard. 

The ministers of the Yin sang praises of T'ang to commemorate the 
blessings of the black bird, 15 and the Chou historians chanted songs in 
honor of King Wen to recount the great achievements of Hou-chi. 16 

9 Chih-yii, in his Wen-chang liu-pieh, made this statement, unaware of the existence 
of the complete piece. 

10 His biography is in the Hou-han-shu. X1 The first ruler of the Later Han. 

12 Tu's elegy for Wu Han is found in the l-wen lei-chu, chiian 47. 

13 Biography in the Hou-han-shu. 

14 Biographies of both men are in the Hou-han-shu, but their works are not contained 
in them, nor are they found elsewhere. 

15 Probably referring to "Hsiian-niao," No. 393 in the Boo\ of Poetry. Hsiian-niao, a 
bird of black color, identified as a swallow, is supposedly the agent through whose 
blessings Shang, the ancestor of the Shang people, was born. The elegy, however, seems 
to refer to "Ch'ang-fa," whose number in the Boo\ of Poetry is 304. 

16 Referring apparently to "Sheng-min," No. 245. Hou-chi was the first ancestor of 
the Chou people, and his birth is described in this poem. 

66 Elegy and Stone Inscription 

The description of the summed up virtues and merits of ancestors is 
indeed the principle followed by the Ancient Poets in the writing of 
the lei. 

Such a piece of writing, in expressing mournful feelings, develops 
according to the circumstances to which these feelings are the re- 
sponses. Fu I's elegy written for Pei-hai 17 begins: "The light of the 
sun was darkened, and the whole Huai district was blanketed in rain." 
This expression of feeling at the beginning of the elegy became a 
model for later writers. And his imitators were often attracted to him 
by his cleverness. 

With respect to its organization, the elegy consists of a selection of 
the sayings and an account of the life of the deceased. It is biographical 
in form, and the language it adopts is that of the sung, or ode, be- 
ginning in glory and ending in sorrow. In its portrayal of the deceased 
as a man, it brings him aflectingly before us; and in expressing grief, 
its mournful tune suggests profound sorrow. This is the main idea 
of the elegy. 

Pei, or stone monument, means pei, or walled terrace. Emperors and 
kings of ancient times erected pei, or stone monuments, on which to 
keep records of their reigns, or as places to render sacrifices to heaven 
and earth, and erected pei, or walled terraces, on the mountains. Because 
of this homophone they called the walled terrace pei. 18 The record of 
King Mu of the Chou inscribed on the stone of Yen-shan gives us an 
inkling of the function of the pei in ancient times. 

Then there were the monuments in ancestral temples, erected [in 
the central courtyard] between the two rows of side rooms; these 
monuments served merely as hitching posts for sacrificial animals, and 
were not used at first for inscriptions recording merits and achieve- 
ments. When in later times bronze articles became scarce, 19 stone 
monuments were used instead of bronze; both signify the immortal. 

17 Prince Ching. Fragments of this piece are found in Ku wen-yuan. 

18 Pei meaning a stone monument, the sense in which the term in the title is used, 
and pei meaning a terrace signify each other because of their homophone. This principle 
of linking semantically two homophonous characters is often resorted to by scholars for 
the explanation of many characters found in the ancient Classics. 

19 Bronze was generally used for the purpose of recording merits and achievements. 

Elegy and Stone Inscription 6y 

[Later, monuments were also erected over the tombs.] From the monu- 
ments erected in the temples to those erected over the tombs, all had 
somewhat the significance of the piling up of earth to build a founda- 
tion. 20 

After the time of the Later Han, pei and chieh rose like clouds. 21 
But of all the carvings from the blades of these later talents those by 
Ts'ai Yung stand out without peer. Among the stone inscriptions for 
which he was responsible, the "Yang Tz'u Pei," or "Monument to 
Yang Tz'u," is marked by strong character and classic beauty, the two 
pieces on Ch'en [T'ai-ch'iu] and Kuo [Yu-tao] are completely free 
from any flattery, and those on Chou [Hsieh] and Hu [Kuang], pure 
and balanced. In recounting events, they are comprehensive and yet 
brief and to the point; and in rhetoric, they are graceful and smooth. 
We find in them an inexhaustible flow of translucent phrases, and also 
brilliant ideas which are unique. All these are a result of a talent which 
is natural and spontaneous. 22 

The works of K'ung Yung were modeled after those of Po-chieh 
[or Ts'ai Yung]. The two pieces on Chang [Chien] and Ch'en, 23 
clear-cut and beautifully phrased, may be considered as being in the 
same class as those by Ts'ai. 

Sun Ch'o 24 intended his works for pei and lei. But his pieces on 
Wen [Ch'iao], Wang [Tao], Hsi [Chien], and Yii [Liang] 25 are 
wordy and without order. His only well-written piece is the one on 
Huan I. 26 

20 The "piling up of earth to build a foundation," an activity common to the erection 
of all monuments, is here used to signify their common quality — an indication of 

21 Both pei and chieh mean stone slabs or monuments. A square stone slab is called 
a pei, and a round stone is called chieh. See Wen-t'i t'ung-shih. See also Hou-han-shu, 
commentary in the biography of Tou Hsien. 

22 For Ts'ai's works, see Ts'ai Chting-lang chi. Ts'ai's dates are A.D. 132-192. 

23 Fragments of K'ung's inscription on Chang are preserved in Ch'iian hou-han wen, 
chiian 83. The one on Ch'en is lost. 

24 Flourishing during the fourth century. 

25 All of the Eastern Chin. 

26 Fragments of the pieces on Wang and Hsi are found in I- wen lei-chii, chiian 45, 
and of that on Yii in chiian 47. The piece on Huan I, however, has completely disap- 

68 Elegy and Stone Inscription 

The writing of the pei requires the talent of a historian. In organiza- 
tion it is biographical, and its language is that of the ming. From its 
description of great virtues the reader should be able to visualize the 
benign countenance taking shape in the subtle breezes; and in its 
account of a successful life he should be able to perceive the glory of 
the craggy height which the one commemorated had attained. In these 
we have the substantial features of the pei. 

A stone monument is in fact an inscribed article, and the inscription 
is the literary pattern of the monument. To select a name for the article 
in accord with its nature was an activity prior to that of composing the 
elegy. Therefore, all writings inscribed on stone to honor merits are 
included in the genre of ming, or inscription, and those of them which 
give accounts of the deceased on upright stone slabs are classified 
under lei, or elegy. 

The Tsan: 

To give an account of facts and recapture what has passed into noth- 

Are reasons for the creation of the lei and the pei. 

In them, virtues are inscribed and life commemorated 

In clusters of colorful literary modes. 

The style in which the deceased is described gives one the feeling of 
seeing him in person, 

And listening to its language is like listening to mournful sobs. 

The flower incised in stone and ink 

Will not fade because of the collapse of the shadow [physical body]. 

XIII. Lament and Condolence (The Ai and the Tiao) 

According to the rule of conferring posthumous titles, one who dies 
young is given the title of ai, or lamented. Ai, or to lament, means /, or 

Lament and Condolence 69 

to adhere; sorrows adhere to the heart; hence the term at, or to 
lament, or simply sorrow. One gives vent to one's sorrows by means 
of writing, which is tearless lamentation. Therefore this form of writing 
does not apply to the death of older people, but always to those who 
meet an untimely death. 1 

Long ago, three good generals were buried with King Mu of Ch'in 
as sacrifices, not having been allowed to be ransomed even by the lives 
of a hundred; these deaths may be considered as untimely and unjust. 
The poem "Huang-niao" sings its grief for them. Is this not the example 
of lament from the Ancient Poets themselves? 2 At the time when 
Emperor Wu of the Han [140-87 B.C.] sacrificed to heaven and earth, 
Huo Tzu-hou 3 suddenly died. The emperor expressed his grief in a 
poem which may also be included in the genre of lament. It was the 
lamentation of Ts'ui Yuan for Prince Ju-nan 4 of the Later Han which 
gave the genre a new form. But in the violence of its onset upon the 
gate of the realm of ghosts, its language becomes grotesque and un- 
cultured; and in its references to dragons and cloud-riding, it may 
succeed in suggesting a desire for immortality, but it entirely lacks 
the emotion of sorrow. The last five stanzas are in five-word form, 
the style of folk songs, and are more or less moulded after the pattern 
set up by Emperor Wu. 

Both Su Shun and Chang Sheng also wrote lament. Though they 
began to see its subtle flowers, they had yet to penetrate to the core of 
its fruit. Of all the lament writers during the Chien-an period [196- 
220], only the work of Wei-ch'ang [or Hsu Kan] may be considered 
good. His "Hsing-nii," or "Lamentation for a Daughter," has oc- 
casional bursts of real feeling. Then came P'an Yiieh, whose laments 
were patterned after the beauty of Hsu's style. With his clear thought, 
his flexible language, his deep sentiments and profound sorrows; with 
his account of events reading like a biography, his composition in the 

1 Literally, yao and hun, meaning "dying young" and "dying an infant less than 
three months old," respectively. 

2 See Mao-shih yin-te, 27/131. 

3 Huo Shan, the son of Huo Ch'ii-pin, a great general. 4 Unidentifiable. 

70 Lament and Condolence 

spirit of the Boo\ of Poetry, and his four-word pattern, short and 
rhythmic, never a line loose or sluggish, he was able to state his ideas 
simply in words that are gentle, and to grace an old form with a fresh 
interest. His "Chin-lu" and "Tse-lan" are without heir. 5 

In general, the main things to consider in a lament are, on the one 
hand, sorrowful feelings and, on the other, a language capable of ex- 
pressing love and regret. The dead was young and had not had a 
chance to establish his virtue; hence, in commending him, one does 
not go beyond speaking of him as intelligent and bright; since he was 
weak and unable to shoulder any responsibility, one mourns for the 
loss of his physical form. When the composition springs from a heart 
full of grief, it will be fine; but if one manipulates one's heart to con- 
form with literary expressions, the piece must be characterized by 
excess. An excessively ornate piece may contain beautiful expressions, 
but it is not the right vehicle for expressing sorrow. The important 
thing in writing a lament is that genuine feeling be the basis of one's 
mournful tone and that the expression be moving enough to bring 
forth one's tears. 

The term tiao, or to condole, means chih, or to arrive. A line in the 
Boo\ of Poetry runs: 

"Shen chih tiao i," meaning "The Spirits have arrived." 6 

The occasion on which a posthumous title is being fixed upon a man 
of virtue who has lived out his natural term is a time of extreme im- 
portance, an occasion full of sorrow. Therefore the arrival of guests 
to condole with the bereaved is termed chih-tao. But when a death is 
caused by crushing or drowning, an event contrary to the normal 
course, no condolence is given. 7 When Sung suffered from flood and 

5 "Chin-lu" mourning a son, and "Tse-lan" a girl. The second piece was written for 
his friend's wife, whose daughter died when she was three. 

6 "T'ien-pao" in the Boof{ of Poetry, Mao-shih yin-te, 35/166/5. Tiao is a modern 
pronunciation. According to Shuo-wen, it should be pronounced ft", and according to 
Karlgren, tiog, which is phonetically linked to tao, the ancient pronunciation of which 
is tog, meaning to arrive. As tao and chih are semantically linked, ft' and chih become 

7 See "T'an-kung," shang, in the Li-chi for the three conditions in which no condolence 
is to be offered, i.e., no guests are to come. Li-chi yin-te, 3/25. 

Lament and Condolence 71 

Cheng from fire, envoys from other states came to express their sym- 
pathy; for both when calamities fall upon a state and when people 
die, condolences are in order. 8 When Chin built Ssu-ch'i terrace and 
Ch'i attacked Yen, Shih Chao and Su Ch'in offered condolences im- 
mediately after expressing their congratulations. 9 For whether it was 
the oppression of the people [as in Chin's building of the Ssu-ch'i 
terrace] or the provocation of an enemy state [as in Ch'i's attack upon 
Yen during the latter's mourning period], both were ways leading to 
destruction. All these cases were fit occasions for offering condolence. 

Some people lose their lives because, while occupying high positions, 
they are arrogant; some lead perverse lives because they are impatient 
and filled with resentment; some have great ambitions and yet are 
born out of their times; and some possess talents but find themselves 
burdened with too many distractions. All expressions imparting sym- 
pathy to the spirits of people like these are designated tiao. 

When Chia I floated down the River Hsiang, 10 full of resentment, 
he wrote to condole with the spirit of Ch'ii Yuan. This piece is perfect 
in style and clear in its narrative. Its language is pure and its thought 
sad. It is indeed an outstanding work of its kind. 11 [Ssu-ma] Hsiang- 
ju's expression of sympathy to Erh-shih 12 is entirely a specimen of /&, 13 
although Huan T'an considered it full of mournful feeling, causing 
the reader to heave a sympathetic sigh. Its last section is particularly 

8 For the Sung flood, see Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 59/Chuang 11/3 Tso; and 
for the Cheng fire, see ibid., 394 /Chao 2 Tso. 

9 The building of Ssu-ch'i terrace, while an occasion for celebration, was considered 
a fit subject for condolence by Shih Chao, who accompanied the Earl of Cheng to Chin 
for that occasion, because such construction served no useful purpose, but added to the 
burden of the people. See Tso-chuan, Duke Chao, the eighth year, or Ch'un-ch'iu ching- 
chuan yin-te, 368/Chao 8/3 Tso. Ch'i attacked Yen when the latter had lost its king 
and the new king, I, had just been inaugurated. As Yen was in no position to resist, 
Ch'i took ten cities. While this expansion of territory on the part of Ch'i was an 
occasion for congratulations, it also revealed the ruthless nature of the ruler of Ch'i, 
which could prove his own downfall. Therefore, Su Ch'in offered condolences immedi- 
ately after having expressed congratulations. See Chan-hjuo ts'e, "Yen-ts'e." 

10 Ch'ii Yuan had drowned himself in the River Hsiang in Hunan. 

11 Chia I, like Ch'ii Yuan, was alienated from his ruler because of slanderous syco- 
phants. In this condolence he was in fact giving vent to his own resentment. 

12 The second emperor of the Ch'in dynasty. 

13 See Chapter VIII. 

72 Lament and Condolence 

pertinent, for it is concise and capable of evoking sad thoughts. As 
to the condolence offered by Yang Hsiung to Ch'ii Yuan, it was a work 
of great labor but little merit. Yang was deeply intent on reversing the 
point of view found in the Li-sao; and for this reason his work is 
characterized by clumsy expressions and uncouth rhyme. Both Pan 
Piao 14 and Ts'ai Yung were proficient in the manipulation of words; 
however, they followed Chia I as shadows and can hardly be consid- 
ered his equals. Then there are the condolences to [Po-]i and [Shu-] 
ch'i 15 written by Hu [Kuang], Yuan [Yii], and Chung-hsiian [or 
Wang Ts'an]. Those by Hu and Yuan are all praises and no blame; 
the one by Chung-hsiian, however, expertly criticized them. 16 Hu and 
Yuan praised Po-i and Shu-ch'i for their integrity, while Wang Ts'an 
regretted their narrow-mindedness; each was expressing his personal 
view. Ni Heng's 17 expression of sympathy to P'ing-tzu [or Chang 
Heng], 18 although elegant and decorative, is light and pure; and that 
offered by Lu Chi 19 to Wei Wu [or Ts'ao Ts'ao] has an expertly writ- 
ten preface, but a wordy text. None besides these cited here is of any 

TiaOy or condolence, although in use in ancient times, was adorned 
with beautiful language only in later times; indeed, when ornamented 
unduly and slowed in tempo, it becomes fu. To write condolence prop- 
erly, one should have correct ideas, in conformity with the nature 
of the case; one should bring to light the virtues of the deceased and 
block the tendency to indulge in what is perverse; one should carefully 
consider what to praise and what to censure; and one's language 

"A.D. 3-54. 

15 Two brothers of the Shang dynasty who signified their refusal to acknowledge 
the sovereign power of the Chou by declining to eat Chou grains. They removed them- 
selves to the foot of Mount Shou-yang, feeding on weeds. When reminded that even 
weeds belonged to the Chou dynasty, they starved themselves to death. They are known 
in Chinese history as examples of loyalty and integrity. 

16 Wang Ts'an served under Ts'ao Ts'ao, whose intention to usurp the throne at the 
end of the Han dynasty was evident, though it was his son, Ts'ao P'ei, who finally took 
the throne. It was natural for him to criticize Po-i and Shu-ch'i, who failed to see the 
effect of the revolution of King Wu in exterminating the ruthless government of the 
last ruler of the Shang dynasty. 

17 173-198. 18 78-139. 10 261-303. 

Miscellaneous Writings 73 

should be sad and yet accurate. Then, no one can deny one the ability 
to write in perfect form. 

The Tsan: 
The Ai grieves 
For those who die young; 
Sprouting grain that fails to flower 
Has since old times been mourned. 20 
But even a man of comprehensive talents 
Has often lost his bearings in this form and failed to put it under 

control. 21 
What is worthy of being mourned one thousand years later 
Is here clothed in words. 

XIV. Miscellaneous Writings 

The works of men of intellect and wide learning are characterized by 
colorful expressions which are brought to life by their vigorous spirits. 
Rich in literary ideas, these men bring forth productions that are always 
fresh and new. Sung Yii, a man of talent, was often subject to the 
ridicule of the vulgar. So he wrote tui-wen> to let out his feelings. It 
was due to his vigorous spirit that he was able in his writing to soar 
with absolute freedom in the boundless expanse of the universe. 1 And 
Mei Sheng, the master of exquisite phraseology, first wrote "Ch'i-fa," 2 
whose language is as rich as the patterns of clouds and whose beauty 

20 See the Analects, "Tzu-han," Lun-yii yin-te, 17/9/22, where Confucius used this 
metaphor to illustrate the untimely death of Yen Hui, his most beloved disciple, whose 
death Confucius deeply mourned. 

21 This refers to the fact that with over-adornment and slow-moving rhythm, tiao — 
or lamentation — becomes /«. 

1 Sung Yii flourished in the third century B.C. Tui-wen, literally "answering ques- 
tions," is a form of writing. His "Tui Ch'u-wang wen" (Answer to the question of 
the king of Ch'u) is in Hsiao T'ung's Wen-hsuan. 

2 Mei Sheng died in 141 B.C. "Ch'i-fa" literally means seven shots, that is, to arouse 

74 Miscellaneous Writings 

surprises us like gusts of wind. In this piece of ch'i, Mei first touches 
on sensual pleasures and desires; he begins with the perverse, but con- 
cludes with the proper; his purpose was to give warning to one who 
was brought up in ease. Yang Hsiung, contemplating in the [T'ien-lu] 
ko, 3 and deeply occupied in writing, collected familiar words and 
trivial phrases to form lien-chu 4 whose language, though frivolous, 
is bright and smooth. These three [tui-wen, ch'i, and lien-chu] are in 
fact branches of literature, inferior pieces produced in times of leisure. 
Once tui-wen was created, Tung-fang So took it and expanded it, 
giving it the title "K'e-nan," or "Objections by a guest or an opposition 
party." By citing cases from the past, he explained away his own 
frustrations. The work is clear and logical. Yang Hsiung wrote "Chieh- 
ch'ao," 5 in a vein which contains a great deal of humor. He doubles 
back and forth, trying to explain away his failure in life, and does so 
with moderate success. We have also Pan Ku's "Pin-hsi," containing 
flowers of wonderful colors; Ts'ui Yin's "Ta-chih," displaying a lan- 
guage of classical elegance; Chang Heng's "Ying-wen," close-knit and 
graceful; Ts'ui Shih's "Ta-chi," well ordered although slightly crude; 
Ts'ai Yung's "Hsi-hui," profound in thought and brilliant in expres- 
sions; and Ching-ch'un's [or Kuo P'u's] "K'e-ao," overflowing with 
feeling and rich in colors. Though these writers followed one an- 
other's example, their works may all be considered great. On the other 
hand, although the "K'e-wen" of Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao Chih] may 
contain wonderful expressions, it is rather loose in reasoning; and 
Yii K'ai's "K'e-tzu" has ideas in abundance, but is weak in literary 
expression. Writings of this quality are numerous, and none is worthy 

one to action by seven stimulating cases. In the present piece, Mei Sheng tried to 
stimulate the heir apparent to actions appropriate to his status. The origin of this 
particular style is a moot question. But many scholars since the time of Han had 
employed it as a vehicle. It is known as ch'i, or "seven." 

3 A royal library of the Early Han, built by Hsiao Ho, the first prime minister of the 
Han dynasty. 

4 Lien-chu means "continuous string of pearls." A piece of writing in which phrases 
and ideas are threaded together like pearls on a string is given this name. In his biog- 
raphy in the Han-shu, Yang is said to have been an editor in the royal library. 

5 "Chieh-ch'ao," literally, to explain away people's ridicule, is faithfully patterned 
after Tung-fang So's "K'e-nan," although in it he spoke ill of Tung-fang's character. 

Miscellaneous Writings 75 

of our attention. For the purpose of this type of writing is to give 
vent to one's frustrated feelings. If one finds himself in adversity, he 
will conquer his disappointment by dwelling on the principle of life; 
if one finds himself at odds with his times, he will console himself 
by cultivating peace of mind. One always maintains a frame of mind 
both deep and lofty, and expresses it in the colorful patterns of a 
unicorn or a phoenix. These are the fundamentals in the writing of 
this literary form. 

Since the writing of "Ch'i-fa," many have followed in Mei's footsteps. 
A look at this initial attempt of Mei's will convince us that it is truly 
outstanding, indeed a work of great beauty. We have Fu I's "Ch'i-chi," 
which exhibits the art of combining the pure and the pertinent; Ts'ui 
Yin's "Ch'i-i," which has contrived to enter the realm of learning and 
grace; the "Ch'i-pien" of Chang Heng, which abounds in variegated 
figures; the "Ch'i-su" of Ts'ui Yuan, in which moral principles find 
their place; Ch'en-ssu's [or Ts'ao Chih's] "Ch'i-ch'i," whose beauty 
lies in its grandeur and vigor; and Chung-hsuan's [or Wang Ts'an's] 
"Ch'i-hsi," which handles facts and their raison d'etre with clarity. 
Between the "Ch'i-shuo" of Huan Lin and the "Ch'i-feng" of Tso Ssu, 
there were more than ten writers who attached themselves to them 
like branches or like shadows. Some of their works are rich in literary 
patterns but weak in ideas, while others expound moral principles 
in all their purity but are impure in language. In general, they all 
describe palaces and hunting, and in grand style. They are concerned 
with outlandish costumes and exotic wood, describing with extreme 
dexterity heart-enchanting songs and women. Their delightful con- 
ceptions stir one to the bone and marrow, and their bewitching 
phrases captivate the soul. Although they begin with the lustful, they 
conclude with what is right. But for every person to whom they may 
have succeeded in bringing the moral lesson home by means of satirical 
metaphors, there are hundreds who are encouraged to lead licentious 
lives, and are unable to return to simplicity. It was for this reason that 
Yang Hsiung ridiculed the idea of beginning with the lustful notes 

y6 Miscellaneous Writings 

of Cheng and Wei, and striking up the refined music only at the end 
of the singing. 6 The only piece that speaks of ancient worthies, basing 
its thought on Confucian principles, is the "Ch'i-su" [by Ts'ui Yuan] ; 
although it is not outstanding in its literary quality, the ideas it con- 
tains are really lofty and profound. 

Many writers have also imitated the lien-chu. Tu Tu, Chia K'uei, 
Liu Chen, P'an Hsu, and their group intended to make strings of 
pearls, but only succeeded in stringing fish eyes. 7 They may be com- 
pared to the crawling of the youth from Shou-ling, a far cry from the 
gait of Han-tan which he had set out to acquire. 8 [Their act of imi- 
tation is as ugly as that of] the homely neighbor woman who held 
her hands over her heart in imitation of the beautiful Hsi-shih, [with 
a grimace that created an effect] totally different from that of Hsi-shih's 
knitted brows. 9 But Shih-heng [or Lu Chi] alone, through careful 
consideration, brought to the form new ideas couched in swift-moving 
language, and extended its scope by neat organization and firm sen- 
tence structure. Need he indeed envy the four-inch pearl of Chu 
Chung? 10 It is easy to be perfect in writing short literary pieces, and 
easy too to make one's thoughts presentable when they are not formed 
in haste. Any piece which is so written as to have clear ideas and neat 
expressions, coherent narrative, and melodious sounds which always 
ring clear-cut and clean, is worthy of the name chu, or pearl. 

Since the Han many terms have been employed to designate mis- 
cellaneous writings. These are: tien, 11 or important documents; fao, 12 

6 See his biography in the Han-shu. 

7 A figure connoting falsehood, for fish eyes look like pearls but are not. 

8 A certain youth from Shou-ling, in the state of Yen (modern Peking), came to 
Han-tan, the capital of the state of Chao (in modern Ho-pei), to learn the Han-tan gait. 
But before he succeeded in his study, he lost all he had known. Hence he had to crawl 
back to Shou-ling. The figure is found in the Chuangtzu {Chuangtzu yin-te, 45/17/79)* 
and ridicules the folly of an imitation of others which results in the loss of one's own 

9 Another reference from the Chuangtzu, "T'ien-yun" (38/14/42), where it is said 
that long ago Hsi-shih, a great beauty, was afflicted with a bad heart. In her pain, she 
held her hands over her heart and knitted her brows. An ugly neighbor, seeing that 
she was very beautiful in such a posture, tried to imitate her. 

10 See Lieh-hsien chuan, by Liu Hsiang of the Early Han. 

11 Originated in the "Yao-tien" and "Shun-tien" of the Book of History. 

12 Also originated in the Boo\ of History. 

Miscellaneous Writings 77 

or to inform; shih, 13 or to take an oath, or military proclamation; 
wen?* or to inquire; Ian, 15 or to peruse; lueh, or a precis; p'ien, or a 
piece of composition, or simply a book; chang, or a chapter; ch'ti, or 
a ditty; tsao, or a piece of instrumental music; lung, or a short song; 
yin, or a prelude; yin, or a sad chanting [to be distinguished from the 
previous yin]; feng, or a satirical writing; yao, or a folk song sung 
without instrumental accompaniment; and yung, or a song. These 
different names may all be classified together under the category of 
miscellaneous writings. But if we distinguish among them with respect 
to their meanings, each may be included in its appropriate group. 16 
And since each has a logical place, we shall not deal with them here 
out of their proper contexts. 

The Tsan: 
Great were the earlier scholars, 
Men of solid learning and overflowing talents. 
Their surplus energy they devoted to sheer literary virtuosity, 17 
Dashing off light, beautiful phrases, showing off their cleverness. 
These display themselves in clusters like branches, 
Twinkling as if they were Orion or the Pleiades. 
But those who tried to imitate the "brow-knitting" 
Succeeded only in unsettling their own minds. 

13 Also originated in the Boo\ of History. 

14 Originated during the Han time. 

15 It is found in the Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu, which is also known as Lii-lan, that which 
is perused by Master Lii. 

16 For example: tien may be included in "Feng-sh'an" (Chapter XXI), \ao in "Chao- 
tz'e" (Chapter XIX), shih in "Chu-meng" (Chapter X), wen in "I-tui" (Chapter XXIV), 
ch'ii, ts'ao, lung, yin, yin, feng, yao, and yung in "Yueh-fu" (Chapter VII), chang in 
"Chang-piao" (Chapter XXII). 

17 See Lun-yii yin-te, 1/1/6. "When there is energy left after moral practice, then 
take up literature." 

XV. Humor and Enigma (The Hsieh and the Yin) 

A poem of Jui Liang-f u's contains these lines : 

[The king] has his own private thoughts, 
And he exhausts and enrages the people. 1 

The mental processes of the people are as precipitous as mountains, and 
their mouths, when stopped, are like dammed-up rivers. As their re- 
sentment and anger differ, their ways of expressing these feelings in 
jests or derision also vary. When once long ago Hua Yuan left his 
armor in the field after his defeat, the soldiers guarding the city 
ridiculed him in a song gibing at his protruding eyes. 2 And when 
Tsang Ho lost his army, he was the subject of a satirical tune referring 
to him as a pigmy. 3 In both cases the people mocked the appearance 
of the subjects of their songs in order to express their inner resentment 
and scorn. Again there were the rude popular songs using the figures 
of the silkworm and crab and the inappropriate song referring to the 
colorful pattern of a raccoon. 4 Crude though these may be, in case they 
could be of service in the way of giving warning to people, they were 
all recorded in the Boo\ of Rites, or the Li-chi. These examples show 

1 Mao-shih yin-te, 69/257/8. According to the preface to the poem, Jui was criticizing 
King Li of the Chou dynasty, who paid no attention to the people but followed his own 
intentions. "He has his own lungs and intestines." 

2 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 179-180/Hsuan 2/1 Tso. 

3 Ibid., 259/Hsiang 4/Tso fu 2. Tsang was a very small man. 

4 Li-chi yin-te, 4/72. A man of Ch'eng — a city of Lu, in present day Shangtung — 
would not wear mourning for his elder brother. But as soon as he heard that Tzu-kao, 
a disciple of Confucius known for his filial piety, was appointed the magistrate of 
Ch'eng, he started to wear mourning for his brother. The people of Ch'eng sang a 
song, which runs: "A silkworm has silk, while a crab has a basket; . . . and when his 
brother died, he wore mourning for Tzu-kao." Just as the basket, that is, the house 
the crab carried, was not for holding the silk the silkworm produced, so the mourning 
of the man of Ch'eng was not for his own brother. The same chapter of the Li-chi, 4/69, 
tells us that while Confucius was working on the coffin for the mother of an old friend 
by the name of Yuan Jang, the latter sang that the carving of the wood was as beautiful 
as the pattern of a raccoon's head. This was highly inappropriate for the occasion, but 
Confucius forgave him because he was his old friend. Some scholars with a Taoist bent 
considered Yuan Jang a man of great achievement because he succeeded in freeing 
himself from his emotions, which are the human bondage. 

Humor and Enigma 79 

us that even humorous sayings and enigmatic statements are not to 
be discarded. 

Hsieh , or humor or jest, means chieh, or all, 5 that is, something 
expressed in crude language to the taste of the common people, which 
is enjoyed by all. In ancient times King Wei of Ch'i indulged in drink- 
ing and feasting, and Ch'un-yu [K'un] admonished him by means of 
a comic story about good wine. 6 And during a feasting party given by 
King Hsiang of Ch'u, Sung Yii wrote a [witty] fu arguing that he was 
not fond of women. 7 Both of these aimed at subtle advice and may be 
commended. Then we have jester Chan's ironic comment on [Erh-shih's 
proposal to] paint the city walls, 8 and jester Meng's sarcastic remon- 
strance against the funeral service for a dead horse; 9 in both cases clever 
speeches and witty arguments were employed to suppress what would 
have been stupidity and ruthlessness. For this reason, Tzu-ch'ang [or 
Ssu-ma Ch'ien], when compiling his history [the Shih-chi], included 

5 Chieh (meaning "all") is a component in hsieh, giving it its phonetic element. The 
signific element of hsieh is furnished by the radical yen, meaning "to talk." But Liu 
Hsieh was apparently treating the phonetic chieh as a signific element. However, 
since by a signific is meant merely a general area within which the meaning of the 
word may fall, and since in many cases specific meaning is furnished by what is usually 
taken to be a phonetic, Liu may be correct here. In that case, we have to translate the 
term chieh (all) to mean "some kind of harmony among all people." 

6 Ssu-ma Ch'ien, Shih-chi, "Ku-chi lieh-chuan." Ch'un-yii K'un told the king that 
sometimes he was drunk after drinking a ton (about a liquid pint), and sometimes he 
was drunk after drinking a shih (ten times a ton). He described how drinking loosened 
up his morals, and brought the king to his senses, so that he promised to give up 
all-night drinking sprees. 

7 The fu is found in the Wen-hsiian. 

8 When Erh-shih, the second emperor of the Ch'in dynasty, planned to have the city 
walls painted, jester Chan said, "Good. Even if your majesty did not speak about it, 
I would have petitioned for it. Though the painting of the city walls might prove a 
great sorrow and burden to the people, it is indeed fine! The city walls would be bright 
and slippery, and no enemy could climb them; and even if they did climb them, they 
would all be easily tarnished. However, this would hardly give shelter to your own 
home." Erh-shih laughed and gave up his plan. See Shih-chi, "Ku-chi lieh-chuan." 

9 Ibid.: A favorite horse of King Chuang of Ch'u died. The king ordered all his 
ministers to wear mourning, and planned to give it a funeral service fitting a high 
official. When his subordinates advised against it, he decreed, "Those who dare to advise 
against the funeral of the horse shall die." Jester Meng heard of it, came before the 
king, and started to cry. When asked why, he said, "The horse was the king's favorite. 
In a state as great as Ch'u, nothing is impossible. It would indeed be too much of a 
slight to bury it with a service only befitting a minister; it should be buried with a 
service befitting a ruler . . . for only thus would the lords know that your majesty 
values horses and despises human beings." The king gave up his plan. 

80 Humor and Enigma 

in it a chapter on the humorists ["Ku-chi lieh-chuan"], because in spite 
of their wandering and devious speeches they always aim toward the 
right principle. However, what is by nature not of the purest easily 
leads to the faulty. Thus we have Tung-fang [So] and Mei Kao, who 
"feed on the dregs of the wine," [that is, they had a tendency to sink 
to the level of the common herd]. 10 They did nothing to correct the 
tendency and, instead, indulged in raillery and took indecent personal 
liberties. Thus, even if they referred to their works as fu, they knew 
very well that these are no better than comic preces. Mei showed some 
measure of regret when he saw that he had been looked upon as a 
jester. 11 Thus Wei-wen [or Ts'ao P'ei] used comic themes to write 
jokes; 12 and Hsiieh Tsung jested sarcastically during a diplomatic 
reception. 13 These jokes, though effective in producing merriment 
during a feast, serve no practical purposes. And yet good writers often 
went out of their way to join in the fun; P'an Yueh's joke on an ugly 
woman and Shu Hsi's on a pastry peddler are good examples. 14 And 
those who followed in their footsteps number more than a hundred. 
The humorists during the Wei and the Chin accentuated the trend by 
their mutual influence. We find the nose of Ying Yang compared to 
an egg whose end has been cut off by a thief, and the physical form 
of Chang Hua compared to the handle of a pestle. 15 These loquacious 
writings are a disgrace to moral principles. Are they not as unseemly 
as laughter from a drowning man or riotous songs from a criminal? 
Yin, or enigma, literally means to hide: to use obscure language to 
hide ideas or to employ an artful parable to point to certain facts. 

10 A figure taken from the "Yii-fu" in the Ch'u-tz'u, meaning to follow the trend 
of the crowd. 

11 See the Han-shu, the biographies of Tung-fang So and of Mei Kao. 

12 His joke book is not reported in his biography in the "Wei-chih" in the 

13 See his biography in the "Wu-chih" in the San-\uo-chih. 

14 Pan's work is not identifiable. Shu's work is found in Hsu Ku Wen-yiian. 

15 The reference to the case of Ying Yang (A.D. ?-2i7) cannot be identified. That 
of Chang Hua (A.D. 232-300) is found in the Shih-shuo hsin-yu by Liu I-ch'ing, "P'ai- 
tiao p'ien" (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), chiian 6, Chapter 25, p. 206. Six persons are 
mentioned together with six descriptions. Since the correlation between the persons 
mentioned and the subsequent descriptions is not specified, Liu Hsieh must have some 
other source as the basis for his statement. 

Humor and Enigma 81 

When Hsiian [Wu-] she [of Hsiao] asked Ch'u generals to save him 
[when Hsiao was under attack by Ch'u, and Hsiian knew that the 
Hsiao army would be routed], their talk about "yeast" really referred 
to the dry well [in which Hsiian hid while waiting to be rescued]. 16 
And when [Shen] Shu-i [of Wu] begged for food from the ministers 
of Lu, he sang of pendant jade, while the ministers told him to call 
for ^eng-^'uei. 17 Wu Chii 18 satirized the king of Ch'u with the parable 
of the great bird, 19 and a Ch'i gentleman gibed at the Lord of She 
with the parable of a sea fish. 20 And Chuang Chi [Chih] used the 
allegory of the tail of a dragon, 21 while Tsang Wen[-chung] sent a 

16 Yeast was good for prevention of getting wet; see Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chnan yin-te, 
200 /Hsiian 12/5 Tso. 

17 Shu-i, in his song, told the Lu people that while everybody in the Ch'u camp had 
a jade pendant, he alone had to go without; and while everybody had good wine to 
drink, he and other commoners could only look on as they drank. The Lu ministers 
told him to call for ^eng-f^'uei, which is a riddle meaning food and water, for in the 
army food was not to be given out to the enemy. 

18 Flourishing during the seventh century B.C. 

19 Shih-chi, "Ch'u shih-chia." For three years after King Chuang of Ch'u ascended 
the throne, he gave no orders. Day and night he passed in revelry. His only proclamation 
to the people runs: "Those who dare remonstrate with me shall die." Then came Wu 
Chii, who said he had a riddle to present before his majesty. "On a mound there is a 
bird which for three years would neither fly nor cry. What is that bird?" King Chuang 
said, "For three years it may not have made a single flight, but once it flies, it will 
penetrate the sky; for three years it may not have cried, but once it cries, its cry will 
startle all the people. Go home, Chii. I now know." 

20 Chan-\uo ts'e, "Ch'i-ts'e." Ching-kuo-chiin was about to build the city walls of 
She. Annoyed by objectors, he ordered that no one should be admitted to his residence. 
A Ch'i gentleman pleaded that he be given a chance to say only three words, saying 
that if he should say a word more, he was willing to accept the death penalty. Ching- 
kuo-chiin saw him. The gentleman rushed in and said, "Sea big fish," and rushed out. 
When called on to explain, he refused, saying that he was not willing to play with 
death. Chun told him to forget about his agreement and give the explanation. So he said, 
"Have you not heard of the big fish? No net can get it, and no hook can catch it. 
However, if ever it is out of water, even ants can do anything they wish with it. Now 
the state of Ch'i is your water. Having Ch'i, why should you build walls for She? 
If ever you should lose Ch'i, even if you heightened the walls of She to the sky, it 
would be of no use to you." Chun said, "Good." He gave up building walls for She. 

21 Lieh-nu chuan (Ssu-pu pei-yao ed.), chiian 6, p. 46. Chuang Chih said to King 
Ch'ing-hsiang of Ch'u, "The big fish is out of water; the dragon is without a tail; the 
walls are about to fall in, and yet Your Majesty will not take a look." When told to 
explain, she said, "The fish out of water is Your Majesty, who is now five hundred li 
from the capital. The dragon without a tail points out the fact that you are now forty 
years of age and yet without an heir. . . . The walls about to fall in at which Your 
Majesty will not take a look mean that confusion is about to reign and yet you will not 
change your way." 

82 Humor and Enigma 

cryptic message using the figure of a sheepskin. 22 Historical records 
abound in cases of the employment of yin; some of the important ones 
served to bring about good government and helped develop personality, 
and some of the minor ones also assisted in recalling the erring and 
in dissolving doubts. For a guiding principle of the yin is expediency, 
and it is employed at critical moments. Enigmas and humorous writ- 
ings may be considered to be two aspects of the same thing. There were 
eighteen collections of enigmas during the Han dynasty, and Liu Hsin 
and Pan Ku placed them at the end of "Songs." 23 

King Chuang of Ch'u and King Wei of Ch'i in ancient times loved 
enigmas. After their time came Tung-fang Man-ch'ien [or Tung-fang 
So], who was particularly clever in making them. But his are mostly 
absurd statements and calumnious jests, which serve no moral purpose. 

Since the time of Wei, jokers and jesters have been disparaged. Men 
of culture, ridiculing yin, transformed them into riddles. 24 A riddle is 
a piece of writing so circuitous that it leads people into a maze. Some 
riddles are based on the structure of characters, and some on the 
pictures and forms of articles. They show refinement and cleverness 
in the manipulation of thoughts, and simplicity and clarity in the 
array of expressions; their ideas are indirect and yet correct, and their 
language is ambiguous and yet suggestive. We find the beginning of 
this development already evident in Hsiin-ch'ing's "Ts'an-fu." The 
riddles by Wei- wen [or Ts'ao P'ei] and Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao Chih] 
are terse and close-knit; those by Kao-kuei-hsiang-kung are compre- 
hensive in citing illustrations but, while cunning and clever, they miss 

22 Ibid., chiian 3, p. 25. Tsang Wen-chung of Lu was sent to Ch'i as an envoy. Ch'i 
detained him and raised an army to attack Lu. Wen-chung sent a cryptic message to 
the Duke of Lu. The language was so ambiguous that only his mother knew how to 
decipher it. The message contains many figures meaning various things. Among them 
is the one about sheepskin mentioned in the text, which means that Ch'i was feasting its 
troops and getting ready for an assault against Lu. Liu Hsieh picked this one out as 

23 According to the arrangement given in the "I-wen chih" in the Han-shu, these 
enigmas are placed below /«, and not "Songs." Perhaps Liu Hsieh was using the term 
fu loosely, as he and most writers of the time so often did. 

24 It seems that an enigma attempts to hide ideas from those for whom they are not 
intended, and a riddle is to puzzle people's minds generally. 

Historical Writings 83 

the important point. When we re-examine the enigmas of the ancients, 
we find that they are perfectly logical, concerned with what is im- 
portant. When did they indulge in childish burlesques, aiming at 
thigh-slapping merriment? 

However, the place of the hsieh and yin in literature is comparable 
to that of the "Small Talk" [anecdotal writings which were considered 
as of no great importance] in the midst of the Nine Schools. 25 For the 
petty officials collected these anecdotes to broaden their scope of ob- 
servation. If one should allow himself to follow in their steps, would 
he be more advanced than [Ch'un-yu] K'un and [Tung-fang] So and 
the firm friends of Chan and Meng, the jesters? 

The Tsan: 
The satires and enigmas of the ancient times 
Aimed at getting people out of critical situations and relieving them of 

"Though silk and hemp exist, 
One does not discard straw and rush." 26 
If the ideas are appropriate and fitting to the situation, 
They may help give admonition and warning; 
Should they be mere farce and jokes, 
They would have a very damaging effect upon moral living. 

XVI. Historical Writings 

The beginning of human history lies so far back in time that it is 
shrouded in primitive darkness. For us who live in modern times, are 

25 See the "I-wen chih" in the Han-shu. Actually ten schools are listed: Confucians, 
Taoists, the School of Yin-yang, Legalists, the School of Vertical Alliance and Horizontal 
Confederacy, Logicians, Mohists, Miscellaneous, Agriculturists, and the School of Small 
Talk. But "I-wen chih" also states that, of these ten schools, only nine are worthy of 

26 A quotation from a poem preserved in Tso-chuan. See Ch-un-ch'iu ching-chuan 
yin-te, 229 /Cheng 9/12 Tso. 

84 Historical Writings 

not written records the only sources of learning about the ancient 
world? During the time of Hsiian-yiian [the Yellow Emperor] lived 
Ts'ang Chieh, who served as a historian. So it has apparently been a 
practice since time immemorial to keep an office in charge of records. 
In the "Ch'u-li" it is said, "Historians carry brushes in attendance on 
the king's left and right." 1 Shih, or a historian, literally means shih, or 
to employ, one who waited on the left or right of the king and who 
was employed to keep records. In ancient times, the left-hand historian 
kept records of what was done, and the right-hand historian, of what 
was said. The classic of what was said is in the Boo\ of History and 
the classic of what was done is in the Annals of Ch'un-ch'iu. In the 
T'ang and Yii dynasties were developed the Tien and the Mu> 2 and 
during the Shang and Hsia 3 were developed the \ao and shih. 4 When 
the Chou received the new mandate of heaven, Duke Chi [of Chou] 
laid the foundation of all institutions. He considered the three methods 
of determining the first month of the year, 5 and formulated the Chou 
calendar; he also employed the system of using the four seasons for 
the orderly recording of events. 6 When the lords established their 
states, each had his own state history, the purpose of which was to give 
distinction to the good and ill fame to the evil, so as to establish certain 
norms governing mores. 
When the Chou declined during the reign of King P'ing, 7 there was 

1 See Li-chi yin-te, 1/37. The phrase "in attendance on the king's left and right" was 
added by Liu Hsieh. 

2 In the Boo\ of History, the first two chapters have the titles "Yao-tien" and "Shun- 
tien," and the next two chapters, "Ta-yii mu" and "Kao-yao mu." 

3 The order should be Hsia and Shang. Liu's choice was probably influenced by the 
tones of the characters in the first line, so he changed the order for pleasant tonal effect. 

4 In the Boo\ of History, Chapters 11, 12, 27, 29, 30, 32, 33, and 34 ar^ \ao, and 
Chapters 7, 10, 21, 49, and 50 are shih. 

5 From the time of Emperor Wu of the Han dynasty until 19 12 when the solar 
calendar was adopted, China had used the Hsia method of determining the first month 
of the year. The Shang dynasty arranged its first month to fall on the twelfth month 
of the Hsia calendar; the Chou dynasty, on its eleventh month. These three ways of 
determining the first month are known as san-cheng, or "three first months." 

6 In recording events, Ch'un-ch'iu first gives the year of the reigning duke of Lu, 
then the seasons — spring, summer, autumn, and winter — , then the month, and then 
the day. The last two items are sometimes omitted. 

7 King P'ing (770-720 B.C.) moved Chou's capital to the east (the present Lo-yang 
in Honan) under the pressure of the western barbarians. 

Historical Writings 85 

nothing in the government that was morally worthy of being sung in 
the Odes; 8 laws and regulations were discarded, and moral principles 
collapsed. The Master [Confucius], grieving for the disappearance of 
the kingly way and the fall of orthodox principle, was smitten with 
sadness, when he resided at home, because of the failure of the phoenix 
to arrive; and shed tears, while loitering on the street, on hearing of 
the capture of a unicorn. 9 So he retired to the place of the Great Master 
of Music for advice to rectify the trends of music and bring them back 
to the ya and the sung™ and he edited Ch'un-ch'iu, on the basis of 
the history of Lu. In this work, he dealt with successes and failures in 
history to illustrate his approval and disapproval [of various facets of 
the contemporary scene], and exposed the factors governing the desti- 
nies of states to show what was to be encouraged and what warned 
against. One word of praise from him was worth more than the 
carriage and official cap of high government position; and one word 
of censure cut deeper than hatchet and halberd. However, the purpose 
of the work is deep and profound, and its language connotative and 
terse. As [Tso] Ch'iu-ming was a contemporary, he knew the secrets 
of its subtle words. He therefore traced its roots and followed all its 
important ramifications to the end, and in so doing created a style of 
writing known as chuan, or commentary. By chuan, or to comment, 
is meant chuan, or to transfer, that is, to transfer the ideas of the Classics 

8 One of the literary principles advocated in the preface to the Boo\ of Poetry and 
reinforced by numerous later attempts (Cheng Hsiian's Shih-p'u hsii, preface to the 
chronology of poetry, being the best known) is that the quality of poetry is intimately 
related to the quality of the government. By "quality" here is meant mainly moral 
quality. For the function of poetry is assumed to be didactic. 

9 For a reference to the phoenix, as an omen of a wondrous event, see Chapter I 
above; and for the significance of the unicorn, see Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 
487/ Ai 1 4/ 1 Kung. Both phoenix and unicorn are symbols indicating the prevailing of 
a kingly way, or signs that a sage is in command. In the case of the phoenix, Confucius 
mourned that there was no such sign, meaning that he was not at the helm of the 
government, hence the figure of residing at home; and in the case of the unicorn, its 
appearance was at a time when there was no kingly government to correspond to the 
auspicious prognostication. This appearance is symbolized by Confucius' loitering on the 
street. Of course, both the phoenix and the unicorn were used with reference to his 
own political fortune in life. 

10 Ya and sung constitute the orthodox music as contrasted with the Cheng, or licen- 
tious music, which prevailed at that time. 

86 Historical Writings 

one receives to those who come after one. Chuan, or the commentary, 
is indeed the wings of the sage's writings, and the crown of all written 

The office of historian was still in evidence during that period 
peculiarly characterized by [the political sophistry of] the Vertical 
Alliance and Horizontal Confederacy [of the Warring States period]. 11 
When the state of Ch'in unified the seven states, it was found that each 
of the warring states had its own ts'e, or records. Since these were 
simple records without running commentaries, they used the term 
for bamboo slips, or ts'e, to designate them. 12 When the Han destroyed 
the houses of Yin and Hsiang, 13 the first years witnessed a parade of 
military achievements. Lu Chia [228-140 B.C.], steeped in the ancient 
models, wrote Ch'u-han ch'un-ch'iu [History of the Struggle between 
Ch'u and Han]. 14 

Then came the grand historian [Ssu-ma] T'an, 15 whose family for 
generations had served in the capacity of "holders of bamboo slips" 
[or historians]. [T'an's son] Tzu-ch'ang [or Ssu-ma Ch'ien] continued 
the tradition, and enumerated the achievements of the rulers. [Here he 
was faced with a problem.] Should he compare all rulers to Yao and 
designate the chapters on them tien? 1Q But not all the rulers were 
worthy ones; in their midst were some who were unworthy. Should 
he follow the example of Confucius and give the title ching, or classic, 
to his writings? But his style of writing could not compare with that 
of the First Sage. So he adopted the title used in the Lii-lan [or Lii-shih 

11 During this period, political speculators fell into two groups, one maneuvering to 
line up the states, now reduced to seven in number, for Ch'in, known as the Vertical 
Alliance, and the other maneuvering them against Ch'in with Ch'i as their leader, 
known as the Horizontal Confederacy. 

12 For the Chan-\uo ts'e, see A. Wylie, Notes on Chinese Literature (Shanghai, 1922), 
p. 32, under Chen \wo ts'ih. 

13 The House of Yin refers to the Ch'in dynasty and the House of Hsiang, to Hsiang 
Yii, Liu Pang's chief rival for power at the end of the Ch'in dynasty. 

14 King of Ch'u was Hsiang Yii's title and King of Han, Liu Pang's. 

15 T'an was the father of Ssu-ma Ch'ien, the first great historian. 

16 The first chapter of the Boo\ of History deals with the accomplishments of Yao 
and is called "Yao-tien." The term tien thus acquires a specific significance as a style, 
generally characterized by archaic flavor, which was taken to be a sign of elegance. Later 
it came to mean what is really elegant without being archaic. 

Historical Writings 87 

ch'un-ch'iu\ and gave the general title of chi> or annals, to all these 
chapters. 17 This is a grand title, as it has the meaning of "a principle." 18 
[The whole work includes:] the chi, or annals, which treat of all 
sovereigns and kings, the lieh-chuan, or biographies, of lords and 
titular personages, the eight treatises on the various aspects of the 
government, and the ten charts of chronologies and titleholders. 19 
This arrangement, though differing from the ancient form, serves to 
relate historical facts in neat order. His merits include his effort to 
create a factual record without evasion or omission, his comprehensive- 
ness in covering his sources, his purity of style, his extensive observa- 
tions, and his logical clarity; and his faults include his love for the 
strange, contrary to the spirit of the Classics, and the absence of order 
in his arrangement of certain materials. These merits and faults have 
been discussed in detail by Shu-p'i [or Pan Piao, A.D. 3-54]. Pan Ku 
followed in his steps in writing the history of the Han dynasty, and 
a knowledge of Ssu-ma Ch'ien's literary quality will carry us over 
half the distance in understanding Pan Ku's work. His ten treatises 
are all-inclusive and rich in sources; his tsan, or concluding remarks 
of praise or censure, and hsii, or prologues, are grand and beautiful; 
the work is a specimen of the combination of scholarship and literary 
grace which gives the reader a taste that lingers on. He wrote in the 
tradition of the Classics and looked to the Sage as his example; his 
narratives are both rich and brilliant; these are his merits. He was 
accused of passing over his father and plagiarizing his work, and of 
demanding payment of gold as a compensation for writing the history. 
But these false accusations were eloquently disposed of by Kung-li 
[or Chung Ch'ang-t'ung, 180-220]. 20 Narratives of historical events 
by Tso [Ch'iu-ming] are attached to the main text of the Classic [of 

17 Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu contains 12 chi, 8 Ian (perusal), and 6 lun (essays). 

18 "Principle" is another connotation of chi, in the sense that it serves, like the annals, 
as a general outline in which all events fall into place. 

19 Liu Hsieh seems to have unwittingly omitted the "shih-chia" (or the biographies of 
members of high families), and placed under the lieh-chuan, which deal with prominent 
men, what should have been placed under the "shih-chia." 

20 Chung's work is lost; only three items are preserved in Ma Kuo-han's Yii-han 
shan-jang chi-i. 

88 Historical Writings 

Ch'un-ch'iu]. His language is succinct; yet it is rather difficult to get 
a clear idea of clans and families. It was the biographical section of the 
history by [Ssu-ma] Ch'ien that first presented a clear picture and 
easy view of the prominent men. This served as an example for all 
later historians. When Emperor Hsiao-hui [of the Han, 194-188 B.C.] 
was gathered to his fathers, his mother, Empress Lii, acted as a regent, 
and both Pan Ku and Ssu-ma Ch'ien devoted a chi to her. This is 
contrary to the principle found in the Classics, and did not do justice 
to the actual fact. Why? Because since the time of Pao-hsi, 21 nobody 
has ever heard of a female ruler. 22 The hard fate the Han met with 
should not be made a basis for a general way of viewing all later 
dynasties. It was King Wu who first swore that a hen should not 
herald the approach of morning; 23 and Duke Huan of Ch'i, in a con- 
ference, stated that no woman should be allowed to interfere with the 
affairs of the state. 24 Queen Hstian of Ch'in 25 brought moral chaos 
to her state, 26 and [the violent interference of Empress Lii] threatened 
to end the life of the Han. 27 Not only should state affairs not be 
entrusted to the hands of a woman, but even names and titles 28 should 
be applied to them with discretion. But when Chang Heng [A.D. 78- 
139] was in charge of the records, he committed the same mistake 
that Ssu-ma Ch'ien and Pan Ku had committed. His idea of devoting 
a chi to Empress Yuan and Empress P'ing 29 is indeed absurd. Although 

21 Better known as Fu-hsi, one of the three legendary sovereigns. 

22 Chi, annals, is a title reserved for rulers. To call the biography of an empress chi 
and use it as a framework in which other events of the time fall into place is, by 
implication, a moral indorsement of a female sovereign. Since the function of a his- 
torian, according to this ancient tradition, was to give implied value judgment by means 
of certain loaded words or phrases, Liu Hsieh considered Pan Ku's and Ssu-ma Ch'ien's 
application of the term chi to the biography of the empress highly censurable. 

23 See the Book, of History, "Mu-shih," Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 0091-0094. 

24 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, ioo/Hsi 9/4 Ku. 

25 Queen Hsiian of Ch'in had illicit relations with a barbarian king. 

26 Shih-chi, "Hsiung-nu lieh-chuan." 

27 Empress Lii, the consort of the first emperor of the Han, removed emperors from 
the throne, murdered princes of the Liu family, and made members of her own Lii 
family princes, an act in direct defiance to the will of the deceased first emperor. 

28 In the present case, Liu had in mind the application of the term chi. 

29 Empress Yuan was the consort of Emperor Yuan [48-33 B.C.] and Empress P'ing, 
the consort of Emperor P'ing [A.D. I -5]. 

Historical Writings 89 

Tzu-hung was not really [born of the royal concubine Chang], he was 
after all the heir of Emperor Hsiao-hui; and although Ju-tzu [Ying, 
A.D. 6-8] was raised from a lowly status, he was, nevertheless, a suc- 
cessor to Emperor P'ing. Both of these are legitimate subjects of chi; 
why be concerned with the two empresses? 30 

The chi and chuan, or annals and biographies, of the Hou-han-shu 
originated in the Tunk-kuan. 31 The works of Yuan [Shan-sung] and 
Chang [Ying] are one-sided, confused, and without order; and those 
of Hsueh [Ying] and Hsieh [Ch'eng] are full of loopholes and mis- 
takes and generally are unreliable; but those of Ssu-ma Piao [A.D. 
?-3o6], which are both comprehensive and authentic, and those of 
Hua Ch'iao, which are both accurate and appropriate, may be con- 
sidered the crown of the group. 32 The three great historical figures 
of the Wei dynasty 33 were given chi treatment in some writings and 
chuan in others. The Yang-ch'iu, 34 and Wci-liich 35 and the Chiang- 
piao 36 and Wu-lu 37 are characterized alternately by emotional bias 
which made them difficult to authenticate, and by perfunctory and 
loose treatment, a failure to grasp the essential. The three Records 

30 Referring to Empress Lii, for whom both Ssu-ma Ch'ien and Pan Ku wrote chi, 
and to Empress P'ing, for whom Chang Heng proposed a chi. According to Liu Hsieh, 
a chi should be devoted to Tzu-hung instead of to Empress Lii, and one to Ju-tzu instead 
of to Empress P'ing. But Liu mentioned, in fact, three empresses. His carelessness sets 
later scholars to wonder which two empresses are intended in the final sentence. 

31 An academy where scholars did their writing, and where the royal library was 

32 Yuan wrote Hou-han-shu; Chang, Hou-han-nan-chi; Hsueh, Hou-han-chi; Hsieh, 
Hou-han-shu. With the exception of Hsieh, who belonged to the Wu period, they were 
all of the Chin Dynasty. 

33 Ts'ao Ts'ao, Liu Pei, and Sun Ch'uan, rulers of Wei, Shu, and Wu respectively. 
The period is known as the Three Kingdoms period, extending roughly from 220-265. 
In considering all three as within the framework of the Wei, Liu Hsieh was apparently 
committed to the view that the Wei faction of the three kingdoms is to be considered 
as the legitimate and orthodox dynasty succeeding the Han. 

34 By Sun Sheng (c. 302-373). The full title is Wei-shih Ch'un-ch'iu (History of the 
Wei Dynasty). "Ch'un" was later changed to "Yang," because the character "ch'un" was 
part of the name of Empress Chien-wen of the Chin, hence under taboo. 

35 A brief history of the Wei, by Yu Huan of the Wei. 

36 Historical records of the Yangtze valley, that is, the state of Wu, by Yii P'u of 
the Chin. 

37 Records of Wu, by Chang Po of the Chin. 

90 Historical Writings 

[of the Three Kingdoms] by Ch'en Shou, 38 however, are lucid in their 
language, and sound in their selection of material. Hsiin and Chang 
correctly compared them to the works of Ssu-ma Ch'ien and Pan Ku. 39 

Records about the Chin dynasty are numerous. Lu Chi [261-303] 
made a start, but did not cover the whole field. Wang Shou[-chih] 
completed his own project, but did not bring it to the conclusion 
requested of him. 40 Kan Pao [of the Chin] wrote Chi, or Chin-chi 
which, because of his good judgment in choosing the right criterion 
for historical composition, has been well praised; 41 and Sun Sheng's 
Yang-ch'iu has been pronounced an able piece of work on account of 
its conciseness. 

I have observed that the writers of commentaries on the Classic of 
Ch'un-ch'iu formulated certain principles and general schemes gov- 
erning the writing of history. But from Shih [-chi] and Han [-shu] 
downward, no criteria were established. It was Teng Ts'an [of the 
Chin] who in his Chin-chi first created a set of general principles. He 
was able to shake himself loose from the influence of the Han and 
the Wei and reach back to the Yin and the Chou for his principles. 
Although he was a rustic scholar from the valley of Hsiang, 42 he took 
the forms of tien and mu AZ as his ideals. When An-kuo [Sun Sheng] 
later formulated his principles, he was using the principles Teng 
had prescribed. 

In writing a historical record, one has to keep in mind [a number 

38 The histories of the three kingdoms, Wei, Shu, and Wu, by Ch'en Shou of the 
Chin, 233-297. 

39 Chang refers to Chang Hua, (232-300), who was known to have great admiration 
for Ch'en Shou. See Ch'en's biography in the Chin-shu. But it is difficult to identify 
Hsiin. The only person who comes to mind is Hsiin Hsu (?-289); however, he spoke 
disparagingly of Ch'en (see Ch'en's biography). It is barely possible that Hsiin might 
have changed his opinion about Ch'en over a period of time. 

40 Wang Shou-chih, 380-435, of Liu-Sung, using his father's notes on the T'ai-yiian 
(376-396) and Lung-an (397-404) periods, wrote the Chin An-ti Yang-ch'iu (History 
during the reign of Emperor An of the Chin Dynasty [397 _ 4°4])- It was so good that 
he was asked to continue it to the end of the dynasty, which lasted until 419. But Wang 
brought it up only to the ninth year of I-hsi, 413. 

41 Kan followed Tso-chuan as his example. 

42 Teng was from Ch'ang-sha, in modern Hunan, watered by the River Hsiang. See 
his biography in the Chin-shu. 

43 See note 2 above. 

Historical Writings 91 

of things] : the record must include sources collected by hundreds of 
authors; stand the test of time for thousands of years; show the 
evidences of rise and decline of a state, and demonstrate the reasons 
for its rise and decline; through such a record the institutions of a 
dynasty may be made to last as long as the sun and the moon, and 
through it the accomplishments of a government, whether ruled by 
moral suasion or by force, may become as great and lasting as heaven 
and earth. It was for this reason that at the beginning of the Han 
dynasty the office of historian was considered one of extreme impor- 
tance: all documents and statistical reports were first collected in the 
office of the grand historian, the purpose being to acquaint him with 
the laws and institutions of the nation, and he was expected to look 
into the stone building [the royal library] and the metal [book] chests 
and to unroll broken pieces of silk and examine fragments of bamboo 
slips 44 in order to gain extensive experience in the art of inquiring 
into antiquity. 

In forming ideas and selecting words to express them, he was to 
establish his rules on the basis of the Classics; and in giving encour- 
agement or warning, approval or disapproval, he was to rest on the 
principles formulated by the Sage. For only so would his judgments 
be clear and precise, free from both acrimony and unwarranted 

The chi is a form of chronology and the chuan a framework for 
arranging events; they are not inconsequential writings, but factual 
records. However, when chronology stretches out too long, it is diffi- 
cult to list with any precision events happening either at the same time 
or at a different time; and when events are accumulated in mass, it 
is easy to be careless about their beginnings and endings. This is why 
it is difficult to obtain a synoptic view. Sometime the same achievement 
is shared by many characters; if it is recorded in every case, the work 
will suffer from redundancy; and if it is mentioned only once, the 
work will suffer from being perfunctory. This is why it is not easy to 
have a general arrangement of material. These are the kinds of argu- 

44 Both silk and bamboo slips were writing materials. 

g2 Historical Writings 

merits on which were based Chang Heng's criticisms of Shih [Ch'ien] 
and Pan [Ku], and Fu Hsiian's [217-278] sarcastic remarks about the 
records of the Later Han. 

In recapitulating the life of the distant past, the farther back the 
past is, the more chances there will be that the reports are unreliable. 
Kung-yang Kao 45 made the remark, "What is transmitted differs in 
different versions"; 46 and Hsun K'uang said, "Recording the distant, 
they are neglecting the recent." 47 As a matter of fact, when in doubt, 
do not record, because it is essential to have reliable historical records. 
However, people in general love what is strange, and pay no attention 
either to facts or to what ought to be. In transmitting what they hear, 
they magnify it in pompous style, and in recording the distant past, 
they describe it in detail. They throw out what is commonplace and 
pick out what is unusual, boring and digging to find support for 
unwarranted views, bragging that "in my book is recorded what 
cannot be found in earlier histories." This is the source of all error 
and exaggerations, the greatest of poisonous influences in writing about 
the past. 

When we come to the treatment of contemporaries, many facts are 
often distorted. While Confucius' judgments concerning the periods 
of Duke Ting and Duke Ai 48 are couched in subtle language [his 
example is too seldom followed]; secular opinions are still influenced 

45 Who wrote the Kung-yang commentary on the Ch'un-ch'iu. 

46 The Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 4/Yin 1/6 Kung; 25/Huan 2/4 Kung; 
487/Ai 14/1 Kung. 

47 This phrase is not found in the Hsiintzu. What is found there is the view that, 
because of the nature of circumstances, an account of the distant past is necessarily brief, 
and that of recent times is in greater detail. See Hsiintzu, chiian 3, Chapter 5, p. 52. 
See also Han-shih wei-chuan (Hsiieh-tsin t'ao-yiian ed.), chiian 3, p. 15a. There may 
be a textual corruption, and the text might be emendated to read "brief in recording 
the past and detailed in the account of the present." This would be more in line with 
Hsuntzu's idea and also with what follows in the text. Liu Hsieh could have misquoted 
Hsiintzu to support his own view, although the misquoted statement, when viewed as 
a critical remark, is not necessarily contrary to Hsuntzu's view. 

48 Duke Ting, 509-495 B.C.; Duke Ai, 494-468 B.C. They were the last two dukes 
of Lu treated in Confucius' Ch'un-ch'iu, who were his contemporaries. Confucius 
stopped writing in 481, the fourteenth year of Duke Ai, when he heard that a unicorn, 
a symbol of sage government, was captured. 

Historical Writings 93 

by selfish interests. If the subject is from a family of great prestige 
and honor, he tends to be eloquently adorned, even though he may 
be a mediocrity. But should the subject be a frustrated scholar, all his 
virtue will not save him from ridicule. This blowing on the already 
frostbitten and puffing at the already bedewed, 49 or fabrication of hot 
and cold with the brush is a common distortion involved in writing 
about a contemporary, and a thing to be deeply deplored. So we see 
that historical accounts of the past are characterized by errors of one 
sort, and those of our own times by distortion of another kind. To be 
able to give a rational account of a matter and keep rigidly to what 
is true, one has to have a pure mind. 

It is true that Confucius advocated giving honor to the virtuous 
and protecting one's dear ones by hiding their faults, because a tiny 
flaw will not disfigure a beautiful jade. But straightforward writing 
by a good historian consists [partially] in the censure of the villainous 
and the wicked, just as a farmer roots out weeds when he sees them. 
This is a principle which will remain valid for all time. With respect 
to the art of systematically handling a mass of material of all sorts, 
with respect to the importance of devoting oneself to the reliable and 
getting rid of the strange, with respect to understanding of proper 
sequence, and with respect to the careful choice of concepts to be 
employed in dealing with the facts, one must have a perfect grasp of the 
general principle. With the perfect understanding of this principle, one 
will be able to comprehend systematically all the related factors. 

Indeed, the responsibility of a historian involves the ordering of a 
dynasty; he is responsible to all the people within the boundaries of 
the seas, in his shouldering of the burden of pronouncing moral judg- 
ments. What other labor can compare to this burden of the writer's in 
magnitude? With all the learning of [Ssu-ma] Ch'ien and [Pan] Ku, 
they have been the subjects of criticism for generation after generation. 
When one lets his private prejudices lead him astray, that is the grave- 
yard of his writing. 

49 To make one who is cold feel colder. 

94 Historical Writings 

The Tsan: 

Historical writing began during the time of the Yellow Emperor, 
And its form was perfected by Duke Chou and Confucius. 
History relates the development of events from generation to generation, 
And it is the final book of judgment on what is good and what is evil. 
In it the good is honored and the evil censured, 
An act which stirs the soul of all times. 

For the beauty of historical writing, we go to [Tso] Ch'iu-ming, 
But for the courage of calling a spade a spade, we pay tribute to Nan 
[Shih] and Tung [Hu]. 50 

XVII . Speculative Writings 

Speculative writings are works by men who have entered into the 
realm of Tao and have seen the Truth. Of these men, those of the 
highest order aim at the establishment of virtue; men of a lower order 
seek to immortalize their convictions in words. 1 The masses of people, 
living in herds, are plagued by the reflection that they are lost in oblivion 

50 Both Nan and Tung exhibited great courage in recording facts. Ch'un-ch'iu ching- 
chuang yin-te, 305/Hsiiang 25/2 Tso: In 548 B.C., Ts'ui Chu murdered Duke Chuang 
of Ch'i. The historian put the record in the book: "Ts'ui Chu murdered his ruler." He 
was killed by Ts'ui. The brother of the historian picked up the brush and wrote that 
Ts'ui had murdered his ruler. He too was killed by Ts'ui. Another brother was also 
killed by Ts'ui for attempting to put his regicide on record. When the fourth brother 
came to do his duty, Ts'ui let him alone. At that time Nan Shih came with his brush, 
fearing that all the Ch'i historians had been killed and that no one was left to put the 
regicide on record. While on his way, he heard that the record had been made and 
returned home. Reference to Tung Hu is also found in the same source, 181/Hsiian 
2/4 Tso: In 607 B.C. Chao Ch'uang murdered Duke Ling of Chin. Chao Tun was 
then the prime minister. To show that the minister had failed in his duty of keeping 
order in the state and dealing out just punishment to the criminal, Tung Hu, who was 
the historian, wrote in the book that Chao Tun murdered his ruler. When Chao Tun 
tried to argue with Tung, he received a severe moral lesson. 

1 An abbreviated quotation from the Tso-chuan, where Shu-sun Pao, when visiting 
Chin, was engaged in a discussion of immortality. See Ch'un-ch'iu ching chuan yin-te, 
302/Hsiang 24/1 Tso. The original text gives three types of immortality: virtue, achieve- 
ments, and words. 

Speculative Writings 95 

among their many petty activities; and even gentlemen, in finding 
a place for themselves in the world, are vexed that their names and 
virtues are not known. Only those with outstanding talents and unique 
power of comprehension are able to perpetuate their brilliance in 
words, so that their names are suspended on high like the sun and 
moon. Feng-hou, Li-mu, and 1-yin were all by men of this type. 2 These 
writings contain the words of the ancient sages and were recorded 
during the Warring States period. Yii Hsiung, a man who understood 
Tao, was an adviser to King Wen [of Chou], and his words and the 
records of his life were collected to form the Yiitzu [or Master (Phi- 
losopher) Yii]. The practice of designating a work as tzu, or a philo- 
sophical or speculative work, began with this Yiitzu. Then came 
Po-yang [or Laotzu], an expert on ceremonial rites, to whom Confucius 
went for instruction; his speculation about tao and te heads the list of 
all philosophical works. 3 Now, Yii [Hsiung] was King Wen's friend, 
while Li [Erh, that is, Laotzu] was Confucius' teacher; and from these 
sages and worthies, all contemporaries, 4 issued the two distinct streams, 
of the Classics and the Tzu, philosophical or speculative writings. 5 

2 See Han-shu, "I-wen-chih." 

3 Tao means the first principle of the world, and te the particular principles of tao 
which are embodied in particular things. Roughly, Tao corresponds to the Platonic 
Idea, and te, to Plato's ideas of individual things. There was a tradition that Laotzu, 
when he was about to go into retirement, wrote at a friend's request a book of five 
thousand words known as Tao-te-ching (A classic of Tao and Te). 

In referring to Laotzu as Confucius' teacher, Liu Hsieh was giving a view which 
has been repeatedly questioned since Ts'ui Tung-pi's Shu-ssa K'ao-hsin In and Wang 
Chung's Laotzu h^ao-i of the Ch'ing times. In modern times, with the possible exception 
of Hu Shih, most scholars believe that the Tao-te-ching emerged in book form during 
the Warring States period, 481-222 B.C., and could not have come from Laotzu who 
gave Confucius advice. As to the authenticity of Laotzu as a historical figure, nothing 
definite has been established. In the Shih-chi, Ssu-ma Ch'ien was already uncertain 
about him. He talked about at least three different persons, and was not sure whether 
they were one and the same person who wrote Tao-te-ching. No further fact has 
emerged since then which could even remotely hint at a possible solution of the 
entangled problem. 

4 Yii, who was considered a worthy, was a contemporary of King Wen, considered 
a sage, and Li, a worthy, was a contemporary of Confucius, a sage. 

5 Yiitzu and Laotzu are philosophical writings, while the Bool{ of Changes, in whose 
completion King Wen had a part, and the books of Poetry, History, Rites, Music, and 
the Ch'un-Ch'iu, with which Confucius was considered by our author as being inti- 
mately connected, are Classics. 

96 Speculative Writings 

During the period of Ch'i-kuo [the Warring States, 480-222 B.C.], 
when might was the principle of government, able men swarmed like 
bees. Meng K'o [or Mencius], who embraced Confucianism, won 
respect; Chuang Chou attained freedom and spontaneity in his eluci- 
dation of the Tao; Mo Ti upheld the virtues of frugality and simple 
living; Yin Wen discussed the problem of correspondence between 
name and fact; Yeh-lao based his theory of government on good utiliza- 
tion of land, and Tsoutzu [or Tsou Yen] based his on astronomical 
observations; Shen [Pu-hai] and Shang [Yang] instituted the laws 
through the application of the sword and saw as instruments of punish- 
ment; Kuei-ku won success by means of casuistry; 6 Shih Chiao was 
versed in all the miscellaneous arts; and as for the Ch'ing-shih, it was 
woven out of the street talk of the times. And the works written under 
the influence of these are numerous. All of them are characterized by 
flights of rhetoric and moving artfulness, and their authors were over- 
whelmed with honor and glory. 

The devastating fire lighted by the ruthless Ch'in emperor destroyed 
much ancient literature; 7 it burnt more furiously than that on the 
ridge of a jade-producing mount; 8 but its enveloping flames left the 
writings of the various philosophers untouched. 

During the reign of Emperor Ch'eng of the Han [32-7 B.C.], thought 
was given to the problem of salvaging books from oblivion, and Tzu- 
cheng [or Liu Hsiang] was entrusted with the task of editing and 
collating the variant texts. As a result, the Ch'i-liieh 9 give forth their 
profuse fragrance, and the works of the Nine Schools 10 were collected 

6 This probably refers to Kuei-ku 's disciples, Su Ch'in and Chang I, who became 
prime ministers because of their ability to persuade people to accept their views. 

7 The first emperor of the Ch'in, to tighten his totalitarian rule, burnt in 213 B.C., 
with few exceptions, all Classics, histories of the states he had destroyed, and works 
which were not in harmony with the spirit of his rule. One year later he buried alive 
scholars who disputed his policy. 

8 Meaning, the fire destroys at one stroke both the jade and rocks, making no distinc- 
tion between what is valuable and what is not, a figure taken from the "Yin-cheng" in 
the Boof( °f History. Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 09/0204-7. Liu changed the first word 
of the phrase without, however, changing the meaning. 

9 Seven Epitomes of Literature, which include classics, philosophy, poetry, military 
tactics, divination and numerology, and the skills of technicians, including medical 
practitioners. See the "I-wen chih" in the Han-shu. 

10 See note 25, Chapter XV, 

Speculative Writings 97 

and put together like the scales of a fish. After the selecting and 
editing, there remained the collected works of over one hundred and 
eighty authors. 

During the Wei and the Chin, many writers arose; they preserved 
all of the speeches that had gone unrecorded and wrote down all of 
the miscellaneous sayings. These they arranged according to categories, 
and what they obtained filled their boxes and graced their carriages. 11 
But although a great many sayings were accumulated, their main 
ideas can easily be summed up. For all works dealing with morals and 
government developed out of the five Classics. Those which are pure 
conform to the classical pattern, and those which are impure do not. 
The "Yueh-ling" in the Li~chi 12 was the model for the chi of the 
Lu-shih ch'un-ch'iu^ and the chapter "San-nien-wen-sang" [Inquiry 
into the three year mourning, in the Li-chi] is described in the 
Hsiintzu. 14 The Lil-shih ch'un-ch'iu and the Hsiintzu may be classified 
as pure. But as for minister [Hsia] Chi's talk about thunder in the 
eyebrow of a mosquito in answer to a question by T'ang of Shang, 15 
and Hui-shih's answer to the king of Liang about a war fought between 
two states each occupying one antenna of a snail, leaving many dead 
on the field, 16 and the discussion about removing mountains and step- 
ping over the sea in the Liehtzu 11 and the story of the fall of heaven 

11 People filled their carts or carriages with books in boxes when they traveled. 

12 Listing the various activities to be performed during the twelve months, correspond- 
ing to the twelve chi in the Lu-shih ch'un-ch'iu. 

13 See note 17, Chapter XVI. 

14 See the latter part of the "Li-lun" (Discourse on rites) in the Hsiintzu, chiian 13, 
Chapter 19. 

15 Liu Hsieh refers here to the Liehtzu, in whose chapter "T'ang wen," or "Tang's 
questions," a number of absurd things are discussed, including the one quoted here. 
Although Liu stigmatized this and the others he mentions as impure, many of them 
actually should be viewed as metaphorical or allegorical. In the present case, Hsia Chi 
was merely trying to show the relativity of all things, and that what appeared to man 
to be minute beings, such as mosquitoes, were immense to other, more minute beings, 
which could live in a mosquito's eyebrow and hear the rolling sound of thunder. 

16 Found in the "Tse-yang p'ien" in the Chuangtzu. See Chuangtzu yin-te, 70/25/27: 
A Ch'u clan established its state on the left antenna of a snail, and a Man clan on the 
right. They went to war, leaving tens of thousands of dead on the field. The victors 
followed the enemy in hot pursuit for five days and then returned. 

17 Found in the "T'ang Wen" in the Liehtzu. 

98 Speculative Writings 

and collapse of the earth in the Huai-nan-tzu 18 — these are all examples 
of the impure. 

For this reason the world has always thought ill of speculative works 
because they are adulterated with empty and absurd discussions. For 
example, the Classic of Kuei-tsang 19 displays a great array of examples 
of the unbelievable and strange: there is mention of I's shooting ten 
suns to death, and the fleeing of Ch'ang-o to the moon. 20 If the Boo\ 
of Changes of the Yin [or Shang dynasty] is of this nature, 21 what can 
one expect of the rest of the speculative writings ? In the Boo\ of Lord 
Shang and the Han-fei-tzu respectively are discussed "Six Lice" 22 and 
"Five Worms," 23 in which filial piety is neglected and virtue aban- 
doned. It was no accident that Lord Shang was torn to pieces and 
Han Fei was poisoned. 24 The arguments about the white horse and 
the orphaned calf by Kung-sun [Lung-tzu] are exercises in casuistry, 
but they lack logical validity; 25 and it was not without reason that Wei 
Mou compared them to the notes of the owl. 26 When Prince Tung- 
p'ing asked to see the speculative works and the Shih-chi, the Han court 
did not grant him the request 27 because the Shih-chi contains a great 
deal of military strategy and the speculative works abound in sophistry. 
But men of wide learning should try to get the gist of these writings, 

18 In the "T'ien-wen hsiin" in the Huai-nan-tzu. Also in Ch'u-tz'u, "T'ien-wen." 

19 Supposedly a divination book of the Shang dynasty, corresponding to the Boo\ of 
Changes of the Chou. See note 21 below. 

20 Ch'ang-o, a girl, swallowed an immortality pill; she fled to the moon and became 
the goddess of the moon. 

21 There are three books of Changes, all dealing with divination. That of the Hsia 
is known as Lien-shan, that of Shang as Kuei-tsang, and that of the Chou as Chou-I. 

22 "Six Lice" are discussed in two chapters in the Boo\ of Lord Shang, Chapters 4 
and 20. They are yearly crops, food, good things, pleasures, ambition, and career. Yearly 
crops and food are the worries of farmers; good things and pleasures, the evil influences 
of merchants; and ambition and career, the concerns of officials. 

23 "Five Worms" is the title of Chapter 49 in Han-fei-tzu, discussing five types of 
evil forces which may cause the downfall of a state and, therefore, should be eliminated. 

24 The death of Lord Shang is recorded in Chan-\uo ts'e (Kuo-hsiieh chi-pen ts'ung- 
shu ed., T'aipei), chiian 3, p. 15. Han Fei's death is recorded in his biography in the 
Shih-chi, "Erh-shih-wu-shih" (T'aipei, 1956), chiian 63, p. 5a. 

25 See Kung-sun lung-tzu, Chapter 2 on "White Horse" (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng edition), 
pp. 4-7; and Chuangtzu yin-te, 93/33/77-78. 

26 Ibid., 45/17/68-77. But here the comparison is made between Kung-sun Lung-tzu 
and a frog in a well, whose outlook is necessarily limited — not an owl. 

27 This took place in the first year of King Hsiian of the Han dynasty (73 B.C.). 

Speculative Writings 99 

giving a casual glance to the flowers but enjoying the fruits, weeding 
out the false and accepting the true. A panorama of all the different 
views contained in these writings would be a great scholarly spectacle. 

After examination, we find that the works of Mencius and Hsiintzu 
are characterized by their sound moral ideas and graceful style; those 
of Kuan [Chung] and Yen [Ying] by the clarity of their factual 
accounts and the purity of their language; that of Lieh-yii-k'ou [or 
Lieh tzu] by its vigorous spirit and wonderful rhetoric; that of Tsoutzu 
by its wild imagination and forceful expressions; those of Mo-ti and 
[his disciple] Sui-ch'ao by the clarity of their ideas and the simplicity 
of their language; those of Shih Chiao and Wei Liao by their full 
understanding of the arts and the bluntness of their words. The Ho- 
\uan-tzu, continuous and unbroken, contains deep utterances, and the 
Kuei-\u-tzu, vast and boundless, returns to profound ideas. To articu- 
late his feelings with sparkling clarity is a special gift of Wentzu; 
Yin-wen knows the secret of forging phrases which are both terse and 
refined. Shen Tao was clever in analyzing intricate syllogisms, and 
Han Fei was known for his wealth of parables and fables. Lii-shih 
was prescient in ideas and perfect in style, and Huai-nan, whose 
selection of his materials was unusually broad and extensive, couched 
them in beautiful language. These writers are the flowers of the 
whole profession of philosophy, and the language they employed is, 
in general, the very essence of literary writing. 

As to Lu Chia's Hsin-yti, Chia Fs Hsin-shu, Yang Hsiung's Fa-yen, 
Liu Hsiang's Shuo-yiian, Wang Fu's Ch'ien-fu, Ts'ui Shih's Cheng-lun, 
Chung Ch'angf-t'ung's] Chang-yen, and Tu I's Yu-ch'iu, some of 
these are discourses on the Classics, while others deal with the art of 
government. But although they are all known as lun, or discourse, they 
should be classified as philosophical works. Why? Because a philo- 
sophical treatise is concerned with a comprehensive elucidation of all 
things, while a discourse is devoted to the study of a specific subject. 
Therefore, since the works quoted here are complex in subject matter, 
they should be classified as philosophical treatises. Prior to the Six 
States [or Warring States] period, writers were not very far removed 

ioo Speculative Writings 

in time from the Sage, so that they could discourse in high style over 
the heads of their contemporaries, and each could open up a new vista 
for himself. The years after the two Han periods witnessed a gradual 
decline in vigor of this form of writing. The writers, while perfectly 
clear about the "broad highway" [of the Confucian school] before 
them, 28 had generally become dependent and eclectic. This signalized 
the gradual change taking place between the time close to the Sage 
and that farther away. 

Alas! Only when a man is out of tune with his times is it possible 
for his ideas and orthodox principles to find a chance for expression. 29 
He places himself in his mind among the ancients and transmits his 
thought to people who come thousands of years after him. Musical 
instruments of metal and stone may have perished; but must their 
music be silenced too? 

The Tsan: 
Men of character have a certain way of conducting themselves in the 

world : 
Endowed as they are with precious gifts and outstanding excellence, 
And with power to bring all things to expression, 
And with intellect enough to comprehend the universe. 
They establish virtue; they allow nothing to remain hidden; 30 
They instruct, being in possession of Tao. 31 

They follow each his own inclination in his particular development, 
Because their several fields are clearly delineated. 

28 By the time of Emperor Wu of the Early Han, the Confucian school had achieved 
a position of eminence in the thought-life of the Chinese people. 

29 Philosophers in ancient China were often frustrated scholars who, failing to win 
the ears of the rulers and make themselves serviceable to some court, and consequently 
failing to find a way to put their ideas and principles into practice, retreated to a quiet 
spot either to teach or to write, thus giving these ideas a better chance to survive. 
Confucius and Mencius are two of the most conspicuous examples. 

30 Liu Hsieh was trying to reconcile the apparent difference of two ways of life: one, 
that of establishing virtue, and the other, that of establishing words. Liu attempted here 
to make a man of virtue also a man of letters. 

31 Expressing thought similar to the previous line. 

XVIII. Treatise and Discussion (The Lun and the Shuo) 

The principles propounded by the Sage are known as ching, or 
Classics, and the works which explain the Classics and set forth their 
underlying ideas are known as lun, or treatise or discourse. Lun, or 
to discourse, literally means lun, or to set in order. If in the process of 
setting these ideas in order one has not gone amiss, he will have 
succeeded in keeping the purpose of the Sage from failing. 

Long ago, the subtle words of Chung-ni [or Confucius] were 
recorded by his disciples from recollection. With the Classics in mind, 
they termed their recordings Lun-yii, or the Analects. This was the 
first instance of the application of the term lun to all similar treatises. 
Prior to the Lun-yii the character lun did not appear as a title to any 
Classics. 1 May not the two lun which are found in the Liu-t'ao have 
been so entitled at a later date? 2 

A study of the genre lun reveals that it has developed into many 
types: when it treats of government, its style is in harmony with that 
of the i, or discourse, and shuo, or discussion; when it comments on the 
Classics, it has the same form as the chuan, or commentary, and chu, 
or note; as a historical judgment, it is used together with the tsan, 
or generally complimentary comment, and the p'ing, or critique; as an 
attempt to elucidate a certain text, it is treated like the hsu, or pro- 
logue, and yin, or introduction. Thus, i means to talk properly; shuo, 
to speak; chuan, to transmit the master's instruction; chu, to give 
explanatory notes; tsan, to express one's judgment; p'ing, to evaluate 
the validity of arguments; hsu, to give a preliminary arrangement of 

1 The text originally runs: "Prior to the Lun-yii the character lun did not appear in 
any Classics." But in the light of the context, Liu Hsieh must have meant that no works 
about the Classics had been termed lun, as Fan Wen-Ian contends. Moreover, the 
character lun is found in the Boo\ of History and the Chou-li. 

2 The Liu-t'ao is a treatise on strategy attributed to Lu Shang, assistant to King Wu 
of Chou. The modern edition does not contain the term lun as part of two titles as 
indicated by Liu here. From Chang-huai T'ai-tzu's commentary to the biography of 
Ho Chin, in the Hou-han shu, we know that the term still occurred at that time as 
part of the first and second chapters. We do not know when the text became corrupt. 

102 Treatise and Discussion 

things; and yin, a preface, or foreword. They are eight distinct forms, 
but all have the same ultimate import as the lun. Lun means to take 
into consideration a variety of statements for the purpose of examining 
minutely a specific idea. Therefore, Chuang Chou [or Chuangtzu] 
entitled his chapter on the equality of all things lun, and in the 
Ch'un-ch'iu of [Lii] Pu-wei, there is an orderly arrangement of six 
lun? The discussions on the Classics, once held at Shih-ch'ii palace 
[a royal library, in 51 B.C.] and once in Pai-hu hall [in A.D. 79] were 
participated in by a group of scholars, the results of whose discussions 
were entitled lun y a most proper designation. Pan Piao's "Wang-ming 
[lun]" and Yen Yu's "San-chiang [-chiin lun]" give a vivid expression 
of their thought, and may be included in the genre of historical writing. 
During the period when the Wei first came into power, logic and 
law were the studies of the day. Fu Ku [209-255] and Wang Ts'an 
were experts in the logical analysis of name and reason. By the time of 
Cheng-shih [240-248], literature became the first concern. It was Ho Yen 
[?-249] and his group, however, who were responsible for beginning 
the writing of the metaphysical treatises. At this time, Tan [or Laotzu] 
and Chou [or Changtzu] came into focus and competed with Ni-fu [or 
Confucius] for the highway. The "Ts'ai-hsing" of Lan-shih [or Fu 
Ku], 4 the "Ch'ii-fa" of Chung-hsiian [or Wang Ts'an], 5 the analysis 
of sound by Shu-yeh [or Hsi K'ang], 6 the "Pen-hsuan" of T'ai-ch'u 
[or Hsia-hou Hsiian], 7 the two "Elucidations" of Fu-ssu [or Wang 
Pi], 8 and the two treatises of P'ing-shu [or Ho Yen] 9 are all the results 
of profound and unique insights, original with each author, and all 

3 See note 12, Chapter XVI. 

4 A treatise on talent. See his biography in "Wei-chih." 

5 On the elimination of self-conceit. The treatise has not been preserved. 

6 A treatise on the theme that human voice has no intrinsic quality expressing sadness 
or happiness. See his collected works. 

7 On the originally mysterious. The character "hsiian," meaning mysterious, seems 
to be a clerical error. According to all other available sources, it should be "wu," meaning 
nothingness. The treatise deals with the Taoist concept of nothingness or void. See 
his biography in the "Wei-chih," in the San-\uo chih, and also Chang's commentary 
in the "Chung-ni p'ien" in the Liehtzu. 

8 Only one is recorded, "The Elucidation of the Boo\ of Changes," although he wrote 
commentaries on both the Book. °f Changes and Laotzu. 

9 On two important Taoist concepts: nonaction and the unnamable. 

Treatise and Discussion 103 

are characterized by penetrating and sparkling arguments creating 
logic that is close-knit and flawless. These authors were indeed men 
of outstanding talents. 

Then we have Li K'ang's "Yun-ming [lun]," 10 which deals with a 
theme similar to that dealt with in the Lun-heng 11 but surpasses the 
latter in quality, and Lu Chi's "Pien-wang," 12 which was modeled 
after the pattern of the "Kuo-ch'in [lun]," 13 but fell short of it. How- 
ever, both pieces may be considered beautiful. 

In the Sung dynasty [420-479] Kuo Hsiang, whose mystical insight 
penetrated the realm of the mysterious, 14 and I-fu [or Wang Yen] 
and P'ei Wei, who had a controversy over the problem of being and 
nonbeing 15 dominated their day, leaving their names behind them. 
However, those who saw only the principle of being were tied to 
physical manifestations; while those emphasizing nonbeing confined 
themselves to the silent and the void. Each may have had a penetrating 
vision of one aspect of the problem, but neither group arrived at the 
final truth. May not the condition in which one's thought is able to 
penetrate the source of the mystery be the ultimate state of prajna} 16 
The common discussions during the period of the Eastern Chin were 
all centered around metaphysical subjects. Although not a day lacked 
its new arguments, the principles were taken from previous writers. 

As to Chang Heng's "Chi-shih," which reads like a piece of comic 

10 On fate, of which the main themes are: peace or confusion are the result of natural 
evolution; one's life, whether frustrated or successful, the result of fate; and honor or 
humble station, the result of accidents in time. 

11 By Wang Ch'ung of the Later Han, c. A.D. 27-100. 

12 Expressing the idea that Wu, one of the three kingdoms where Lu's family was a 
very prominent one, should not have fallen to the Chin. 

13 The faults of the Ch'in, by Chia I of the Early Han. 

14 Kuo, A.D. P-3I2, wrote a commentary on the Chuangtzu. 

15 Wang, 255-311, a Taoist scholar, advocated that nonbeing was the first principle 
of things; while P'ei, 267-300, a Confucian, wrote an essay adhering to the principle 
of being. However, during this period, a controversy such as this usually took on a 
Buddhist tinge. 

16 Prajna means wisdom or understanding, which is the principal means, by its en- 
lightenment, of attaining to nirvana. Liu Hsieh was a Buddhist scholar, and took the 
Buddhist vow shortly before he died. However, in the Wen-hsin, this is the only occasion 
on which we find him using a Buddhist term explicitly. 

104 Treatise and Discussion 

writing, K'ung Yung's "Hsiao-lien," which indulges in satires, 17 and 
Ts'ao Chih's "Pien-tao," which looks like a copybook, 18 these are not 
written in the orthodox terms, and it seems better that no lun of this 
type be written at all. 

As a genre, the lun performs the function of establishing what is 
true and what is not. It goes over all available tangible evidence and 
pursues truth to the realm of the intangible. It bores hard to get under- 
standing and drops its hook deep to obtain profundity. It is the "net 
and hoof" of all thought, and it is also the measure of all things. 19 
Hence its ideological content should be coherent and its language free 
from verbosity; it should bring the mind and the reason together in 
perfect accord and leave no sign of patchwork in the organization; 
the expressions it employs should be so intimately coordinated with 
the thought that the enemy is baffled as to where to attack. In these 
qualities consists the essence of the lun. In a lun, it is as if one were 
splitting wood; the main thing is to split it according to its grain. 
When the axe is sharp it often cuts across the grain; just so, when 
one's language is clever, he often violates the reason in order to 
rationalize and reach an understanding. Sometimes a lun may appear 
to be a clever piece on the score of its language, but in view of the 
evidence it adduces it will be seen to be absurd. Only a man of virtue is 
able to comprehend the desire of the people of the world. Why should 
one resort to sophistry in writing a lun ? 

As to commentaries, in these the lun perforce disintegrates as a 
genre, although throughout the wide variety of such miscellaneous 
writings the ultimate purport remains the same. However, the com- 
mentary by Ch'in Yen-chlin [or Ch'in Kung] on the "Yao-tien" runs 
to over one hundred thousand words and Chu P'u's on the Boo\ of 
History to three hundred thousand. Men of learning, impatient with 
such wordy details, have kept themselves clear of laboring with philo- 

17 Neither piece is preserved. 

18 Quoting and refuting fantastic stories from the religious Taoists, who believed in 
the immortality of man and the effect of an elixir of life. 

19 The figures of the net and the hoof are taken from the Chuangtzu, where they are 
used as external symbols for the capturing of the inner mystery of things. 

Treatise and Discussion 105 

logical and textual problems. Nevertheless, the philological elucidation 
of the Boo\ of Poetry by Master Mao, 20 the commentary on the Boo\ 
of History by [K'ung] An-kuo [of the Early Han], the commentary 
by Cheng [Hsiian] on the Boo\ of Rites, and Wang Pi's commentary 
on the Boo\ of Changes are precise and illuminating. These may be 
considered paragons of the lun as commentary. 

The character shuo, or to speak or to discuss, has the sense or 
meaning of yiieh, or to please. 21 And as tui, or to please, is a mouth 
and tongue [according to the "Shuo-kua" in the Boo\ of Changes], 
then the way to please is by means of one's words. But when one's 
attempt to please goes beyond his actual state of feeling, he is guilty 
of hypocrisy. For this reason Shun abhorred flattery. Some of the 
fine examples of shuo are I Yin's talk on taste, which was responsible 
for the prosperous rule of the Yin [or Shang], 22 T'ai-kung's discussion 
on fishing, which caused the Chou to rise, 23 the diplomatic speech of 
Chu Wu [or Chu Chih-wu], which relieved Cheng of impending 
invasion, 24 and the persuasive address of Tuan-mu [Tz'u, or Tzu-kung], 
which saved Lu. 25 

During the Warring States period [481-222 B.C.] sophists rose like 
clouds. They indulged in the so-called "vertical and horizontal in- 
trigues," 26 and competed in what have been termed the "long and 

20 There were two scholars by the name of Mao who specialized in the Boo\ of 
Poetry: the Great Mao, whose personal name was Heng, and the Lesser Mao, whose 
name was Ch'ang. The former flourished during the Six States period and was responsible 
for the commentary on the Boo\ of Poetry, which was later handed down to the latter, 
who lived in the Early Han. 

21 The character shuo is composed of two elements: yen (to speak) on the left, and 
tui (to please) on the right. Hence shuo has two senses: to speak or to please. Later, 
the yen radical is replaced by a heart radical, when it is taken to mean "to please" and is 
pronounced yiieh. But the original form persists, though its pronunciation is identical 
with yiieh, when it means "to please." 

22 I Yin, a minister of T'ang of the Shang, used taste, the aim of culinary art, as a 
parable to illustrate the quality of good government. See note 90, Introduction. 

23 See Shih-chi, "Ch'i T'ai-kung Shih-chia." 

24 See Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 138/Hsi 30/6 Tso. 

25 A disciple of Confucius. See Shih-chi, biographies of the disciples of Confucius. 

26 Under the leadership of Chang I, an intrigue was put into operation to persuade 
the six states to line up in support of the state of Ch'in, which is known as heng, or 
horizontal alliance; and under that of Su Ch'in, the states were persuaded to form 

106 Treatise and Discussion 

short tactics." 27 The "Chuan-wan" charges forward with its clever 
phrases, and the "Fei-ch'ien" is the embodiment of tactical dexterity. 28 
The eloquence of one man was more weighty than the precious nine 
tripods; a tongue three inches long was stronger than a million troops. 29 
Brilliant and scintillating, [Su Ch'in] carried the six seals; 30 rich and 
opulent, [Chang I] was enfeoffed with five cities. 31 

After the Han had disposed of Ch'in and Ch'u, 32 the sophists slowed 
their pace. Li [I-chi, ?-203 B.C.] was boiled alive in Ch'i; 33 and K'uai 
T'ung barely escaped the Han cauldron. 34 Although we have Lu Chia, 

a league in opposition to the state of Ch'in, which is known as tsung, or vertical 

27 The "long and short tactics" refers to the tactics adopted by the warring states in 
upsetting one another's plans, tactics which were somewhat Machiavellian in character. 
In his preface to the Chan-\no ts'e (The tactics of the warring states), Liu Hsiang of 
the Han said that "kuo-ts'e" (state tactics) were also known as "tuan-ch'ang" (the short 
and the long). Chan-\uo t'se, "Preface," p. i. Liu Hsieh in Chapter XVI interpreted 
ts'e as "bamboo slips," and Chan-\uo t'se as "records of the warring states." See p. 86. 
But Liu Hsiang apparently took the term ts'e in a different sense, meaning tactics. Here 
Liu Hsieh seems to have the same idea in mind, although the term ts'e does not 
actually appear. 

28 "Chuan-wan" and "Fei-ch'ien" are two chapters in Kuei-\u-tzu, on techniques of 
roughly Machiavellian character. Kuei-ku-tzu was the teacher of Su Ch'in and Chang I, 
leaders of vertical federation and horizontal alliance, respectively. 

29 See Shih-chi, biography of Prince P'ing-yiian. Mao Sui, a guest in the household 
of Prince P'ing-yiian of the state of Chao, by sheer talking, persuaded the king of Ch'u 
to come to Chao's rescue, when the latter was attacked by the state of Ch'in. The prince 
spoke of his eloquence as more weighty than the nine tripods, and of his three-inch tongue 
as stronger than a million troops. 

30 Su was entrusted with the premiership by the rulers of the six states in cementing 
the vertical federation against Ch'in. The seal was emblematic of the premiership. 

31 Chang's policy to form a horizontal alliance to support Ch'in was so successful 
that Ch'in made him this enfeoffment in gratitude. 

32 The Ch'in was destroyed in 207 B.C. by the combined forces of Han and Ch'u. 
In the ensuing struggle between Han and Ch'u, which lasted until 202 B.C., Han 
emerged as the victor and established a new dynasty. 

33 With powerful eloquence, Li succeeded in persuading the ruler of Ch'i to surrender 
more than seventy cities to Han without shooting an arrow. But another general of Han, 
Han Hsin, ?-200 B.C., goaded by K'uai T'ung, attacked Ch'i, partly for the purpose 
of occupying the territory of Ch'i, and partly for the destruction of Li I-chi. Having 
been softened by Li's talk, Ch'i was an easy prey. However, Li was boiled alive by Ch'i, 
as Han Hsin's attack made him a conspirator. This took place in 204 B.C. 

34 Later K'uai T'ung persuaded Han Hsin to revolt against the Han. When Han Hsin 
was about to be executed, he deplored the fact that he had not listened to K'uai T'ung. 
On hearing this, Kao-tsu, the first emperor of the Han, ordered K'uai to be boiled 
alive. But K'uai was spared when he made the point that at the time when he persuaded 
Han Hsin to revolt, the situation of the empire was still unsettled. Anybody was entitled 
to his ambition. And it was entirely due to Han Hsin's stupidity and unwillingness to 

Treatise and Discussion 107 

famed for his literary ability, Chang Shih [-chih], so effective in his 
discourse, Tu Ch'in, lucid in his literary expression, and Lou Hu with 
his eloquence, some proudly making their points on the steps of the 
royal court and some "attacking the defective" 35 at the table of the 
nobles, they all tended to bend with the wind, and none dared go 
upstream against the flow. The important thing in employing the shuo, 
or discussion, is to grasp the opportune moment, sometimes discussing 
with leisurely ease and sometimes with tension; further, the shuo need 
not always be effected in speech, for it can also be executed in writing. 
Fan Sui's [letter to King Chao of Ch'in], discussing affairs of state, 
and Li Ssu's [memorial to the first emperor of the Ch'in], arguing 
against the latter's order to get rid of all guest ministers, drive home 
the important points, and every word in them hits the right mark. 
Although [in tendering these memorials both men] were touching 
the reversed scales [of the dragon], 36 they succeeded in putting over 
their ideas. These may be considered the best examples of shuo as 
embodied in memorials. Tsou Yang's attempts to warn Prince Wu 
and Prince Liang were expressed in clever metaphors and irrefutable 
arguments; therefore, although in danger, he came out unscathed. But 
Ching-t'ung's [or Feng Yen's] addresses to influence the minds of Pao 
[Yung] and Teng [Yu] are slow in narrative and progression and 
verbose in language, so that in all his attempts he failed to win 
confidence. 37 

The crucial requirement in a shuo is to present at an opportune 
moment ideas which are crystal-clear and true. Positively, one's ability 
in the art of shuo should help him execute his duty with success; and 
negatively, it may enable him to avoid disgrace. Except when dealing 
with a deceitful enemy, its principles have always been loyalty and 

listen to advice that Han Hsin had met his sorrowful fate and Kao-tsu had become 
what he was. See Han Hsin's biography in the Shih-chi. 

35 "Attacking the Defective" is a chapter in the Kuei-\n-tzu, pointing out the im- 
portance of detecting and attacking any defects that we might have and planning to 
mend them. 

36 It is certain death to touch the reversed scales of a dragon. This figuratively expresses 
being caught in a fit of anger of the ruler, aroused by adverse criticism. 

37 See his biography in the Hon-han-shu. 

io8 Treatise and Discussion 

truthfulness. In it one opens his heart before the ruler and conveys 
his ideas in winged words. These are the fundamentals of a shuo. 
Master Lu [Chi] spoke of shuo as "brilliant and yet deceitful"; 38 
one might well ask, Why? 

The Tsan: 
Logical reason takes form in words, 
And their account of this reason forms a lun. 
Words probing the depths of man and nature 
Reach far, though originating in the "square inch" [of the human 

heart]. 39 
Whether the prospect is dark or bright, [a lun writer] follows one 

single principle, 
And without evasion faces the ghosts and spirits. 
Exercising control through speech, 
Exhaling and inhaling, he restrains and encourages. 

XIX. Edict and Script (The Chao and the Ts'e) 

Translator s note: From the text of this chapter, it seems obvious that no 
one of the terms used to stand for different types of writing has a specific 
sense in which it is used consistently in different contexts; and it is also 
obvious that our author made no attempt to clarify this confusion. As a 
matter of fact, this tendency to treat a term, which has many senses, as if 
it had only one sense, and to raise it to the status of a genre, while using 
it as inconsistently as it originally was used in different settings, is one of 
the major faults of Liu Hsieh, against which we have a legitimate com- 
plaint. Mark how the terms chao and ts'e are treated in this chapter. At 
first they are treated as if they were technical terms, serving to designate 
specific types of writing. But as we go along, we find to our grief that 

38 A line from Lu Chi's Wen-ju. See note 13, "Preface." 

39 The ancient Chinese, like Aristotle, believed the human heart to be the seat of 

Edict and Script 109 

in addition to using chao specifically as a royal pronouncement, the author 
also uses it as a general term for all royal edicts; and the term ts'e, in addi- 
tion to being used as a script of enfeoffment, is also used to mean writings 
in general. The same is true with the terms chih, ch'ih, \ao, ming, etc. This 
seems to have originated from a deliberate policy of ignoring the semantic 
distinction between different senses of a term, and of effecting by means of 
ambiguity a loose and easy flow in literary associations of ideas. This ex- 
plains in part the unscientific manner in which the genres are classified. 
They are neither mutually exclusive nor independently comprehensive. We 
find, for example, the genre of poetry discussed in Chapters V, VI, VII, 
and VIII. The genre lun is discussed specifically in Chapter XVIII; but it 
is also touched upon in Chapters III, IV, V, XVII, and many others. In 
Chapter XVII the lun is defined as a discourse devoted to the study of a 
specific subject; and works by Lu Chia, Chia I, Yang Hsiung, Liu Hsiang, 
Wang Fu, Ts'ui Shih, Chung Ch'ang-t'ung, and Tu I are classified as 
philosophical writings, in spite of their having been named as lun, because 
some of them discourse on the Classics. But in Chapter XVIII, the lun 
includes not only philosophical works by the Taoists of the Wei and Chin, 
but also Mao's commentary on the Boo\ of Poetry, K'ung An-kuo's com- 
mentary on the Boo\ of History, Cheng Hsiian's commentary on the Boo\ 
of Rites, and Wang Pi's commentary on the Boo\ of Changes — a direct 
contradiction by Liu Hsieh of his own statement in the previous chapter. 
Here then, we find the major task of a student of Chinese literary criticism: 
to try to penetrate beyond the veil of literary terminology and feel his way 
through the labyrinth of the minds of Chinese authors, which are very 
inadequately expressed in words. Thus we may also find out why it is not 
possible for the ancients to do otherwise, and we may see the necessity of 
intuitive insight so often insisted upon by them and so clearly demonstrated 
by Chuangtzu in numerous figures, parables, and anecdotes. Perhaps one 
has to be a mystic before one can really understand the minds of the ancient 
Chinese authors. 

As an emperor rules over his empire, his words have a mysterious 
effect. Though he himself remains deep and silent in front of an 
embroidered screen, 1 his voice is heard to the limits of the four borders. 
To accomplish this, he depends on the chao, or edict, and the ts'e, or 
script. Long ago, during the time of the Yellow Emperor, of T'ang 

1 The ruler sits before the embroidered screen, which becomes a symbol of the royal 

no Edict and Script 

[or Yao], and of Yii [or Shun], all royal pronouncements were called 
ming, which means "the authority which defines nature." 2 During 
the period of the Three Dynasties [Hsia, Shang, and Chou], the ming 
had the further function of a proclamation or an oath. An oath was 
used in connection with the conduct of military affairs, and a proclama- 
tion in connection with the prosecution of governmental activities. 
The ming, or mandate, is revealed by heaven; hence, it is employed 
for appointing officers and conferring blessings. Under the hexagram 
of hou in the Boo\ of Changes, it is said, "The ruler despatches his 
ming to be proclaimed to the four directions." 3 The mandate thus pro- 
claimed would stir the people as the wind under heaven stirs the grass. 4 
Later, during the Seven States period, the term ling was used. It means 
"to commission." When the Ch'in unified the empire, the term ming 
was dropped and in its place chih, or to institute, was used. In the 
early years of the Han when rules and regulations were first formu- 
lated, the ming were classified under four categories: the tse-shu, or 
script of enfeoffment; the chih-shu, or ordinance; the chao-shu, or 
pronouncement; and the chieh-ch'ih, or warning. The "royal warning" 
was issued to the local officials; the "royal pronouncement" was issued 
to the hundred central officials; the "ordinance" was issued to declare 
an amnesty, and the "royal script" was issued to invest princes and 
lords with fiefs. The term tse, or script, has the literal meaning "a 
bamboo slip"; chih, or ordinance, "to institute"; chao, or pronounce- 
ment, "to proclaim"; and ch'ih, or warning, "to correct." The Boo\ 
of Poetry says, "Reverence this bamboo slip"; 5 the Boo\ of Changes 
says, "Men of virtue on the basis of this [image of limitation] institute 
measures and regulations"; 6 the Chou-li speaks of the proclamation of 

2 According to Fan Wen-Ian, hsing (nature) should be emendated to read hsing 
(surname), because in ancient China only a noble had a surname; each was granted by 
the ruler. Hence, the term "pai-hsing" (one hundred names) meant "one hundred 
officers." However, there does not seem to be any necessity for this reading. In Li-chi 
(see Li-chi yin-te, 31 /i) it is stated, "Heavenly mandate, or ming, is called nature, or 
hsing." It makes perfect sense to think of royal pronouncements as defining the nature 
of each function or appointment. 

3 Chou-i yin-te, 27/44/hsiang. 4 Lun-yii yin-te, 24/12/19. 

5 Mao-shih yin-te, 36/168/4. 6 Chou-i yin-te, 36/60/hsiang. 

Edict and Script 1 1 1 

an enlightened ruler; 7 and the Boo\ of History speaks of "keeping 
oneself correct in the carrying out of the mandate of heaven"; 8 all these 
terms are grounded in the Classics. The restriction of the use of chao> 
or proclamation, to "reach afar" and that of ming, or oral dictate, to 
"control the near" are practices instituted in the Ch'in. The Li-chi 
says [that "the words of a ruler are like] silk [fibers, when unspoken] 
and like thread [when spoken], 9 and these words are instruments for 
the successful management of the ruler's relations with the various 
chieftains. Yii [Shun] emphasized the importance of the office whose 
responsibility it was to receive the ruler's words, 10 and the Chou con- 
sidered that office the throat and tongue of the kings. 11 The two Han, 
therefore, made responsibility for the chao-\ao> or pronouncement and 
proclamation, part of the office of the grand historian. The words 
spoken by the king were always set down in the historical records, for 
when spoken, the words of the king become rope 12 and, like sweat, 
once out they can never be recalled. 13 Therefore, Emperor Wu [of 
Han, 140-87 B.C.], because [his uncle] Prince Huai-nan was a man of 
literary distinction, had [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju look over the letters he 
drafted to this prince. 14 And as in Lung-yu [in present Kansu], there 
were many literary scholars, Emperor Kuang-wu [of the Later Han, 
A.D. 25-57] P a id particular attention to the literary quality of his mes- 
sages to them. This was done not merely to win praise of the day, but 
also to show a reverent care for the opinion of later times. 

The style of the chao prior to Emperors Wen [179-157 B.C.] and 
Ching [156-141 B.C.] was frivolous and impure, but during the time 
of Emperor Wu, who inclined towards Confucianism, it was grand 

7 Chou-li yin-te, q/iSb. "Ming-chun" (an enlightened ruler) should be read "ming 
shen" (bright spirits). 

8 Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 5/0534-7. 

9 The Li-chi: "The words of the ruler are like silk fibers, but when they are spoken 
they are like threads; the words of a ruler are like threads, but when they are spoken 
they are like ropes." The great effect of words, especially when spoken by the ruler, is 
given a figurative treatment here. See Li-chi yin-te, 33/7. 

10 Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 2/730-4. " Mao-shih yin-te, 71/260/3. 

12 See note 9 above. 

13 See the biography of Liu Hsiang in the Han-shu. 

14 See Prince Huai-nan's biography in the Han-shu. 

ii2 Edict and Script 

and profound. His scripts of enfeoffment to the three princes [Ch'i, 
Yen, and Kuang-ling] 15 have the same literary quality as the hsiin and 
tien; 16 the lesson and warning they conveyed were both profound and 
graceful, good examples for later generations to imitate. In his letter 
to Yen Tsu, Emperor Wu mentioned that Yen had tired of his duty 
in the Ch'eng-ming lu; 17 this, in fact, shows in what great favor the 
emperor held Yen. Later, the epistle of Emperor Hsiian [73-49 B.C.] 
to Governor Ch'en Sui expresses the depth of his feelings for his old 
friend. 18 

When Emperor Kuang-wu [25-57] brought order to the chaotic 
world, he was deeply concerned about his language. However, in the 
heat of the moment, he often lost his poise in expressing his joy or 
anger. In his letter to Teng Yu, he described the office of Ssu-t'u as 
that of Yao, 19 and in his threatening letter to Hou Pa [also a Ssu-t'u], 
he referred to the execution axe. 20 Royal letters like these are indeed 
contrary to the form of chao demanded by good taste. Emperors Ming 

15 See the biographies of the three princes in the Shih-chi. 

16 Both the hsiin and the tien are chapter titles in the Boo\ of History. Hsiin means 
to give instruction. The History has a chapter entitled "I-hsiin" (The instruction of I 
Yin) by a T'ang minister. When T'ang died, his grandson ascended to the throne, and I 
wrote this for the benefit of the young ruler. As to the tien, the first two chapters of the 
History include this term in their titles. Hsiin-tien may be rendered simply as "classical." 

17 See Yen Tsu's biography in the Han-shu. Yen Tsu had gone away from court to be 
the governor of K'uai-chi, in modern Chekiang, his native place. The emperor apparently 
let him go with reluctance. Ch'eng-ming lu was a hall in the palace where attendant 
ministers stayed. 

18 Emperor Hsiian, when humble, often lost to his friend Ch'en Sui in games and was 
unable to pay. After he became emperor, he made Ch'en an official, and eventually wrote 
him a letter mentioning jokingly that the appointment was in payment of his gambling 
debts to Ch'en. 

19 In the Chou time, Ssu-t'u was one of the six Chief Ministers; in the Han, a prime 
minister was known as Ssu-t'u, one of the three Grand Ministers. Teng was made Ssu-t'u 
by Kuang-wu. In A.D. 25, when Kuang-wu ascended the throne, Teng was in charge of 
the military expeditions in the west. When he delayed his operation against Ch'ang-an, 
the old capital, Kuang-wu sent him a stiff letter, in which he declared that a Ssu-t'u 
was, in effect, a Yao (the exemplary ruler of the past), and that he should therefore 
make all haste to bring his campaign to a successful completion, in order to give succor 
to the long-suffering people of the west. See his biography in the Hou-han-shu. 

20 Hou Pa recommended a certain person whom Emperor Kuang-wu hated; suspecting 
that Hou was bribed, he sent him a letter threatening to execute him. See the biography 
of Feng Ch'in in the Hou-han-shu. 

Edict and Script 113 

[58-75] and Chang [76-88] emphasized learning, and consequently 
issued some graceful chao. 

During the reigns of Emperors An [107-125] and Ho [89-105], 21 
government declined and in the Hall of Rites [where scholars were 
gathered], there were few scholars with talent. When a royal chao or 
ch'ih [that is, pronouncement or warning] was to be drafted, a scholar 
from outside the Hall was often summoned to do it. At the end of the 
reign of Chien-an [196-220], we find a rise in interest in literature. The 
"Chiu-hsi" of P'an Hsii 22 was elegant and graceful, outstanding in its 
group. Wei K'ai's edict of abdication 23 is marked with brilliant 
rhetoric, quite unsurpassed. 

Since the times of Wei and Chin, the drafting of royal edicts had 
been one of the functions of the royal secretary. Liu Fang [of the 
Wei] and Chang Hua [of the Chin] were both appointed to this 
position. Edicts and orders flowed from their brushes, wonderful to 
listen to. The edicts of Emperor Wen of Wei are for the most part 
grand in both language and ideas, and his inappropriate use of the 
phrase "to exercise awesome authority or to confer blessed happiness" 
may be considered the one black spot in his well-considered works. 24 
When the Chin dynasty obtained a second lease on life, 25 Emperor 
Ming [323-325] alone patronized the talented. Wen Ch'iao, because 

21 Liu Hsieh reversed the order for euphonic reasons. 

22 "Chiu-hsi" means conferment of nine honors to the virtuous lords by the Son of 
Heaven. Often we find that a minister grew too powerful, and the Son of Heaven 
conferred these honors under duress. This was the case when Emperor Hsien, the last 
emperor of the Han, conferred these honors on Ts'ao Ts'ao in 213. On this occasion, 
P'an Hsii was commissioned to write the royal edict for the emperor. 

23 Emperor Hsien, the last emperor of the Later Han, abdicated in favor of Ts'ao P'ei, 
the eldest son of Ts'ao Ts'ao, in A.D. 220. The royal edict proclaiming the abdication 
was written by Wei K'ai. 

24 The phrase is taken from the Boo\ of History (see Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 
24/0602-9), where it is pointed out that one should not "exercise his awesome 
authority" or "confer blessed happiness" without good reason. Here the emperor was 
using the phrase to describe the kind of behavior he expected of the general, to whom 
he was sending the edict. When Chiang Chi remonstrated with him, he had the edict 
recalled before it reached its destination, and had the phrase dropped. See the biography 
of Chiang Chi in the Wei-chih. 

25 Referring to the Eastern Chin, after the Western Chin collapsed under the pressure 
of the invasion of the northern tribes. 

H4 Edict and Script 

of the purity of his literary style, was appointed royal secretary. From 
this time on, interest in their literary quality became a strong influence 
on the composition of edicts. 

The words of a ruler are lofty and laden with meaning; hence they 
are suspended on high for all to look up to, they are the laws to all 
chieftains, and they are pledges capable of winning the confidence of 
all states. Therefore, in making appointments and selecting the virtuous 
for such appointments, an edict should contain ideas as bright as the 
sun and the moon; in enfeoffment, it should be rich in literary quality, 
with the grace of the breeze and the timely rain; in warning or ordinary 
decree, it should have brilliance that flows from the brush, sparkling 
like stars in the Milky Way; in connection with the conduct of military 
expeditions, it should thunder forth in rolling majesty; in giving 
pardon, it should be as gracious as the dews in the spring; and in the 
just application of law and punishment, its language should be as 
sharp as the autumn frost. These are the main principles governing 
the royal edict. 

Chieh-ch'ih, or royal warning, are edicts written in language which 
is sharp and cutting. The order given by King Mu of the Chou [1023- 
983 B.C.] to Chiao-fu to receive regulations governing the royal warn- 
ing may be cited to illustrate this point. 26 King Wu [or Ts'ao Ts'ao] 
of Wei said that in writing a warning, the language should be directed 
to the facts, and no vagueness should be allowed. This remark mani- 
fests his wisdom with respect to government administration. And 
Emperor Wu of the Chin served all his ministers with warnings; he 
warned the military governors of the importance of military affairs; 
he warned the civil governors of the importance of handling sub- 
ordinates; he warned prefects of the importance of being kind to the 
people and not too observant of their faults; and he warned the guard 
of their duty in defense. His are warnings which may be considered 

Chieh, or to advise against, means literally "to take care." Yii [of the 

26 See the Mu-t'ien-tzu chuan. 

Edict and Script 115 

Hsia] spoke of the function of a chieh as good. Now, the ruler and 
the father rank first among the respected, among the three with 
boundless grace [which it is impossible for one to repay]; 27 and both 
the advice of Emperor Kao-tsu of the Han [202-192 B.C.] to the heir 
apparent and Tung-fang So's admonishment to his son are of the 
same nature as the "Ku-ming." 28 From Ma Yuan [14 B.C.-A.D. 49] 
downward, each writer has left behind his advice to his family. And 
the advice to her daughters by Pan Chi [or Pan Chao, ?-c. 116, sister 
of Pan Ku, the historian] may be considered words from the mouth of 
a woman teacher. 

Chiao, or to teach, literally means hsiao, or to imitate. Words once 
spoken form the models for people to imitate — for example, the five 
teachings disseminated by Hsieh; 29 therefore the words of kings and 
lords have come to be grouped under the general term chiao, or teach- 
ing. Cheng Hung's teachings during his tenure as the prefect of Nan- 
yang were well remembered by later generations, 30 because they were 
clear statements of his administration. On the other hand, when K'ung 
Yung was the prefect of Pei-hai, his declarations to the people were 
marked with literary embellishments but lacking in rational substance. 
His is a practice contrary to the right principle of government. As to 
both the skill in detail and the succinctness of Chu-ke K'ung-ming 
[that is, Chu-ke Liang, a great strategist of the Three Kingdoms 
period] and the brilliant judgments of Yii Chih-kung [or Yii I], both 
are well grounded in reason and have achieved the right standard in 
language. They furnish the best examples of chiao. 

In addition to chiao, there is also ming, or mandate. It is said in the 
Boo\ of Poetry, "There is ming from heaven," showing the importance 

27 The third one from whom we receive boundless grace is the teacher. 

28 In the Boo\ of History, Chapter 42, the advice which King Ch'eng of the Chou, 
on his deathbed, gave to his son King K'ang. 

29 Hsieh was a minister of Shun, who appointed him to be the Ssu-t'u, a minister in 
charge of education. The five teachings are: father's justice, mother's love, elder brother's 
kindness, younger brother's respect, and son's filial piety. See Shang-shu t'ung chien, 
2/0478-98, and Ch'un cli'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 176/Wen 18/9 Tso. 

30 This is not mentioned in the biography of Cheng Hung in the Hou-han-shu. 

n6 Edict and Script 

of ming. zl And in the Chou-li, the Shih-shih had the duty of keeping 
the ruler informed or chao 32 showing that the chao was then rela- 
tively unimportant. 33 In our own day, the chao is important and the 
ming unimportant; this indicates the change from ancient to modern 

The Tsan: 
The august king, in giving orders, 

Shows inner reverence and outer respect in his pronouncements. 
His words are like silk, 3 * 
And all the people love to hear them. 
Their brilliant sound soars high, 
And on mighty winds is carried to a distance. 
Vigorous ideas and lively language 
Decorate these, his majestic commands. 

XX. War Proclamation and Dispatch (The Hsi and the I) 

As lightning precedes thunder, so awesome proclamations precede 
military expeditions. Just as the sight of lightning evokes a fear of the 
ensuing thunder, so the hearing of a proclamation makes the listener 
freeze with fear of military strength. It has long been a practice to send 
out proclamations before military expeditions. Yu-yii [Shun] was the 
first to sound the warning to his state; the ruler of Hsia was the first 
to take the oath in the army; Yin [or Shang] took the oath outside 
the army camp; and the Chou took the oath immediately before the 

31 Mao-shih yin-te, 59/236/6. 

82 An office whose function was to inform, or chao, the ruler of what is good. See 
Chou-li, "Ti-kuan" (Shih-san ching chu-su ed.), chiian 14, p. 2a. 

33 Relatively unimportant because it was used by the official and was not used like 
ming as a mandate from heaven, nor as royal decree. 

34 See note 9 above. 

War Proclamation and Dispatch 117 

battle. 1 Thus we know that during the time of the [Five] Emperors 
[one of whom was Shun], warning was sent out before a military cam- 
paign; and during the time of the Three Kings [of the Hsia, Shang, 
and Chou], an oath was taken at the time the expedition was launched. 
In all these cases, the instructions were directed to their own troops, 
and nothing was said to the enemy. But when King Mu of Chou 
launched an expedition to the west, Lord Ts'ai Mou-fu remarked that 
in ancient times there were both proclamations to set forth the purpose 
of the expedition and proclamations in which the crimes of the enemy 
were enumerated. This may be considered the beginning of the hsi, or 
war proclamation. 

During the period of the Ch'un-ch'iu, all military expeditions were 
initiated by the lords. 2 Mindful that the enemy might not acknowledge 
their authority, these lords, in order to maintain it, had to give their 
expeditions noble justifications in order to inspire awe, and this they 
accomplished by exposing in proclamations the evil done by the enemy. 
This was just what Liu Hsien-kung had in mind in his advice [to 
Shu-hsiang of Chin, when the state of Ch'i was reluctant to come to 
terms] : "Inform them of the reason by proclamation, and support it 
with troops." 3 Duke Huan of Ch'i, on his expedition against the state 
of Ch'u, rebuked it for failing to send tribute [to the Chou court]; 4 
Duke Li of Chin seized upon the burning of [the Chin city of] Chi- 
kao as his reason for attacking Ch'in, 5 and Kuang Chung and Lii 
Hsiang both wrote proclamations before their military expeditions. 6 
A careful examination of their content shows that they are actually 
what we now call hsi, or war proclamations. 

It was during the Warring States period that such proclamations 

1 Taken from the Ssu-ma Fa, military regulations. The purpose of the oath is to 
prepare the people for the forthcoming expedition. 

2 This was a sign of the decline of the Chou, because normally all military expeditions 
should have been initiated by the king. 

8 See Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 382/Chao 13/5 Tso. 

4 Ibid., 92/Hsi 4/4 Tso. At this time the Chou was so weak that the king was a 
figurehead. Strong vassal lords acted in the name of the Son of Heaven. So Ch'i, the 
strongest state of the time, took Ch'u's failure to send tribute to Chou as an excuse for 
attacking it. 

5 Ibid., 235/ Ch'eng 13/4 Tso. 6 Kuan against Ch'u, Lii against Ch'in. 

n8 War Proclamation and Dispatch 

came to be known as hsi. Hsi means clear, clearly revealed, clearly 
understood. Chang I, when sending a hsi to Ch'u, wrote it down on a 
bamboo slip only one foot and two inches long. 7 The clearly expressed 
language of the hsi is grasped as a poster is grasped when it is pre- 
sented before the eyes and ears. 

The purpose of a military expedition is to restore peace, and it must 
not be initiated on one's own account. Formerly when the Son of 
Heaven took charge of an expedition in person, he would say: "I 
respectfully execute this act of punishment in the name of heaven." 8 
And when it was a vassal lord who launched the campaign, he would 
say: "Reverently I impose this penalty in the name of the king." 9 In 
this way the Son of Heaven shared his responsibility with his generals 
and gave them encouragement, 10 and the generals received orders 
from the emperor himself to undertake punitive expeditions. This was 
done not only to insure success in destroying the enemy, but also to 
provide the utmost opportunity for couching the orders in severe lan- 
guage expressive of a militant spirit. Such proclamations would have a 
resounding impact, like that of stormy winds, and their militant 
spirit would destroy the enemy's morale like the comet sweeping away 
[evils with its tail]. They expressed martial indignation and constrained 
the spirits of the malefactors. They gave evidence indicating the ripen- 
ing moment of evil, and pointed out that the days of the malefactors, 
whose crime had reached its limits, were numbered. They struck 
terror to the hearts of the evil, but gave confidence to those who were 

7 Chang I was wrongly accused of stealing jade cups while being entertained at the 
Ch'u court and was consequently lashed. When he became the prime minister of Ch'in, 
he sent Ch'u a hsi to the effect that he now would steal Ch'u cities. A hsi is sometimes 
defined as "a foot and two." 

8 Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 21/0702-13; 22/0165-73. 

9 See K'ung Yin-ta's commentary on Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 22/0165-73. 

10 Literally, "division by the city gate threshold and a push to the chariot," paraphrase 
of a line from the biography of Feng T'ang in Pan Ku's Han-shu. The original line in 
the Han-shu runs: "Your servant — addressing Emperor Wen — heard that in ancient times 
when a king dispatched a general on an expedition, he would kneel down to give the 
general's chariot a push and say: 'Within the threshold of the city gate I assume responsi- 
bility, and beyond the threshold, you, my general, assume full responsibility.' " Later 
"division by threshold" came to mean division of responsibility, and "to give the chariot 
a push" meant to give encouragement. 

War Proclamation and Dispatch 119 

faithful and obedient. They caused hundred-foot chariots to break 
before a written note scarcely a foot long and a city wall of ten thou- 
sand chih 11 to crumble under the weight of a hsi. Wei Hsiao's hsi re- 
counting the three crimes [of Wang Mang] 12 caused the Hsin dynasty 13 
to collapse. Though unembellished, its language is succinct and its nar- 
rative clear. In it the scholars of Lung-yu 14 found a model for the hsi. 
Ch'en Lin's hsi against Ts'ao Ts'ao is marked with strength and cour- 
age; although its expose of the family background is exaggerated, as 
in its assertion that Ts'ao's grandfather was a eunuch and his father 
a beggar receiving support from others; and although it contains the 
allegation, more false than acrimonious, that Ts'ao had the imperial 
tombs dug up for their treasure, its strong language in describing 
Ts'ao's crimes is as stark as exposed bones. With great courage he 
braved the anger of Ts'ao Ts'ao; and it was a sheer stroke of luck that 
he was not destroyed along with the clique of Yuan [Shao]. 15 Chung 
Hui [225-264], in his hsi to the generals in Shu, cited his evidence con- 
vincingly, and the hsi of Huan Wen [312-373] against the barbarians 16 
is even more telling in recounting their ruthlessness. These are all 
products of vigorous brushes. 

In general a hsi speaks either of one's own kindness and fair judg- 
ment, or of the enemy's ruthlessness and cruelty. It stresses salient 
factors of timeliness and human relations, and discusses comparative 
military strengths and strategic positions; it refers to oracular revela- 
tions of the future, and to the lessons reflected in the pendant mirror 
of the past. 17 Although it is based on the realities of the national situa- 
tion, it utilizes the deceptive tactics always involved in military art. 

11 About fifty miles. 

12 Crimes against heaven, earth, and men. See Wei Hsiao's biography in the Hou- 

13 Created by Wang Mang, who usurped the throne in A.D. o. His dynasty lasted 
until A.D. 23. He chose Hsin as his dynastic title because he was enfeoffed Lord Hsin-tu. 

14 Present-day Kansu. 

15 He wrote the hsi for Yuan Shao, who was planning a punitive expedition against 
Ts'ao Ts'ao. 

16 Referring to Shih Le, who was overrunning North China at the time. 

17 For the meaning of the pendant mirror, see note 25, Chapter XI. "The pendant 
mirror of the past" means history. 

120 War Proclamation and Dispatch 

To put over its ideas, it makes use of deceit; and to give force to its 
claim, it employs brilliant language. These tactics are imperative in all 
hsi writing. Therefore, in formulating ideas for a hsi or in attempting 
to make its words fly home, the important thing to remember is 
strength. To make the words fly home is essentially to give them 
speed, to avoid a slow-moving style; and, as a hsi is to be posted for 
all to see, never to allow its ideas to be vague. Its facts should be 
evident, its reason sound, its spirit high, and its language clear-cut; 
these are the essentials of a hsi. As to involved style or delicate and clever 
content, they are not materials for the genre. 

We might add that when local officials call for recruits their procla- 
mations are also known as hsi, since their idea is to announce an 
intention clearly. 

/, or to transform or dispatch, means literally to change, to transform 
ways and change mores, to dispatch an order for people to follow. 
[Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju's dispatch refuting the opinions of the people of 
Shu [who opposed contacting the southwestern tribes] is lucid in 
language and comprehensive in arguments; it may be considered the 
very bone of both i and hsi. Liu Hsin's dispatch rebuking scholars in 
the T'ai-ch'ang ministry 18 is couched in strong language, contains ideas 
which are clear, and may be considered the best of all civil dispatches. 
Lu Chi's dispatch to the hundred officials 19 is simple in language and 
plain in recounting facts, and may be said to be the best of all military 
dispatches. These examples demonstrate that the hsi and the i may be 
used on both civil and military occasions. In a military situation, the 
hsi is used to address the enemy and the i to address the allies; the 
distinction is made for the purpose of rooting out any suspicion in the 

18 The T'ai-ch'ang ministry was in charge of rites, a function similar to that of a 
modern ministry of education. Scholars who were experts in the study of particular 
classics were appointed Po-shih (learned men) in the ministry. Liu Hsin proposed to 
create three new Po-shih for the three classics: the Boo\ of History, particularly the 
chapter "T'ai-shih," the great oath King Wu made at the beginning of his expedition 
against the Shang, the thirty-nine chapters of the newly recovered Book °f Rites, and 
the Tso-chuan, Tso's commentary on the Ch'an-ch'iu. He was vehemently opposed by 
the Po-shih in the T'ai-ch'ang ministry, and he rebuked them in the dispatch referred 
to here. 

10 Not recorded, presumably lost. 

Sacrifices to Heaven and Earth 121 

minds of the people and planting in its stead firm concord. Between 
the two terms there is thus a slight difference in application, but they 
are similar in form and content. To know the i we need only refer to 
the hsi. We shall not, therefore, deal with it again here. 

The Tsan: 
[In hunting, ancient kings] used beaters on three sides, and [Tang of 

Shang also ordered] the net to be loose [on three]. 20 
Therefore all punitive expeditions are preceded by proclamations. 
Look into the pendant mirror of the past for lucky and unlucky omens; 
And depend on milfoil stems and tortoise shell to predict the success or 

failure of a campaign. 
Suppress the overbearing and ruthless, 
And exterminate the poisonous. 
Transform ways and change mores; 
The grasses incline under the strength of the wind of proclamation. 21 

XXL Sacrifices to Heaven and Earth (Feng Shan) 1 

[A ruler] is situated as the Big Dipper 2 and confronts the brilliant 

20 In the Boo\ of Changes under the hexagram pi (=~=), it is said, "In hunting 
the king uses beaters on three sides only and foregoes game that runs off in front." 
See Chou-i yin-te, 8/8/5. And in the Lu-shih ch'un-ch'iu, T'ang of the Shang dynasty is 
said to have ordered the game warden to let loose three sides of the net. See Lii-shih 
ch'un-ch'iu (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), chiian 10, p. 102. These figures are used here to 
indicate the reluctance of a good ruler to use force. A proclamation is here conceived 
to be an attempt to correct wrongs without resorting to force. 

21 A figure taken from the Analects, where the wind refers to the influence of the men 
of virtue, while the grasses are the people. See Analects, 24/12/19. The proclamation is 
then the vigorous wind and the enemy is the grass. 

1 One of the things done during these sacrifices was to inscribe on stone tablets the 
achievements of the ruler. 

2 The Big Dipper or Ursa Major was thought to be the chariot of the Supreme Being. 
and it occupies the center of heaven around which all heavenly bodies revolve, a position 
similar to that of a ruler on earth. 

122 Sacrifices to Heaven and Earth 

south; 3 he moves Polaris 4 and gives support both to the common people 
and to the virtuously eminent. Has such a ruler ever failed to inscribe 
his imperial achievements by weaving together the Tao, or first prin- 
ciple, and the te, or particular principles, as the warp and the woof 
are woven together? The "Green Diagram" says, "Through whirl and 
permeation, the ten thousand things are evolutionally transformed," 
expressing the effect of the influence of great virtue. And the "Red 
Book" says, "The way will be smooth if righteousness overcomes selfish 
desires, and disastrous if selfish desires overcome righteousness," show- 
ing the importance of extreme reverence and vigilance. 5 Such reverence 
and vigilance serve to build the ruler's virtue up to its majestic height; 
and this high moral quality of his achieves the evolutional transforma- 
tion referred to. Accordingly there have been seventy-two monarchs 
who in the past have offered sacrifices to heaven and earth. 6 

Long ago the Yellow Emperor, because of the spirituality of his 
personality, was the recipient of most auspicious blessings, and he 
inscribed a record of his merit on the lofty Mount [T'ai] and had 
tripods cast at Mount Ching. Shun's sacrifice to T'ai-shan is clearly 
recorded in the "Yu-tien." 7 And we hear of the sacrifices to heaven and 
earth made by King Ch'eng and King K'ang [of Chou] as recorded 
in the apocrypha of the Classic of Music. When Duke Huan of Ch'i 
had become drunk with power, he cast his eyes toward imperial rule. 
But I-wu [or Kuan Chung] shrewdly remonstrated with him by 
detailing the extraordinary omens necessary for assuming the imperial 

3 In the Chuangtzu (for "Nan-mien," i.e., facing south, see Chuangtzu yin-te, 6/2/62, 
30/12/26, 81/29/19; in 47/18/27, we have the phrase "Nan-mien-wang," a king who 
faces south), and in the "Shuo-kua" of the Boo\ of Changes (see Chou-i yin-te, 
5o/shuo/4), we find mention of the ruler facing south, but nowhere has a satisfactory 
explanation for this practice been found. In the "Shuo-kua" it is merely said that the 
south is bright, hence the sage faces south in audience with the people of the world, 
as he faces the light in his rule. 

4 Supposedly the first star in the Ursa Major constellation, conceived in ancient China 
as the first heaven. If the ruler moves this first star, around which all other heavenly 
bodies revolve, he is evidently the prime mover in the world. 

5 Both the "Green Diagram" and the "Red Book" have been mentioned in Chapter IV, 
p. 23. See note 5, Chapter IV. 

6 Reporting to heaven and earth on their achievements, the expression of extreme 
reverence and vigilance. 

7 "Shun-tien," the second chapter of the Boo\ of History. 

Sacrifices to Heaven and Earth 123 

role, and forestalled his attempt. 8 From this incident, we learn that 
jade tablets and gold inscriptions are the special omens of an emperor. 
But what has been said of the chien, 9 appearing in the west, and the 
tieh, 10 appearing in the east, is idle chatter without basis; what is really 
meant is the ruler's great virtue. 11 The monograph "Feng-shan" 
(Sacrifices to heaven and earth) among the eight treatises in the Shih- 
chi of Shih-ch'ien [or Ssu-ma Ch'ien] is about special rites of sacrifices 
which were also occasions for recording the merits of the rulers and 
ofTering secret prayers. 12 We find in this monograph a truly grand 
spectacle of heaven worship. The inscriptions of Ch'in Shih-huang-ti 
[first emperor of the Ch'in] on Mount T'ai were from the brush of 
Li Ssu; written in the language of a legalist, their style is neither 
elevated nor smooth. However, clean and vigorous, they were the best 
literary efforts of the time. 

During the height of the two Han, Emperor Wu performed sacrifices 
to heaven and earth at Mount Su-jan and Emperor Kuang-wu per- 
formed sacrifices to heaven and earth at Mount Liang-fu; both records 
are masterpieces, glorifying their virtue and preserving their merits 
in memory. 13 The "Feng-shan" of [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju is elegant and 
leads the genre in beauty. It traces its origin, narrates successive per- 
formances of the sovereigns and kings at sacrifices, mentions clearly 
the physical symbols of the mandate of heaven, and makes the great 
achievements of past rulers shine. In it Hsiang-ju reached back to 
antiquity for evidence that was of service to the contemporary ruler 
[Emperor Wu], and extolled his good and brilliant reign above those 

8 The duke's ambition to assume the position of the Son of Heaven was frustrated 
through the failure of certain omens to materialize. These omens were then construed 
to be the prerogatives of a ruler mandated by heaven. 

9 A chien is a one- winged bird. These birds fly only in pairs. 

10 A tieh is a one-eyed fish. These fish swim only in pairs. 

11 The chien and tieh, the jade tablets and gold inscriptions, are, according to Kuan 
I-wu, some of the things which must appear as symbols of investiture by the mandate 
of heaven. 

12 See Shih-chi, "Feng-shan shu" (Taipei, Erh-shih-wu-shih ed.), chiian 28, p. 106. 
In 167 B.C., Emperor Wen abolished secret prayers by means of which the sacrificial 
officials attempted to shift calamity from the emperor to the people. Ibid., p. 12a. 

13 Strictly speaking, they sacrificed to heaven at Mount T'ai and to earth at Mount 
Liang-fu. See "Wu-ti chi" in the Han-shu and "Kuang-wu chi" in the Hou-han-shu. 
Liu Hsieh's statements are elliptic for the purpose of euphony. 

124 Sacrifices to Heaven and Earth 

of previous sage kings. He sang his praise of the reign by citing aus- 
picious omens, and pleaded with the emperor to go to offer sacrifices 
to heaven and earth at the great mountain. Such a piece is without 
peer, a creation completely new. 14 

The stone inscription extolling Emperor Kuang-wu's virtue was 
from the brush of Chang Ch'un. Its first part is in the [classical] style 
of tien-mu, and its last part in the style of a prayer, or chu. It cites 
prognostications from the apocrypha, describes the chaotic times, 15 
and gives an account of Kuang-wu's military merits and civil virtues. 
Lucid in narrative and articulate in reasoning, although it is somewhat 
lacking in embellishment, it is more than adequate in its content. 
These two writers [Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju and Chang Ch'un] left behind 
concrete evidence on stone on Mount T'ai. 16 Although Yang Hsiung's 
"Chu-ch'in" 17 and Pan Ku's "Tien-yin" 18 have not been inscribed, they 
are in the style of the chi, or chronicle of rulers, and shan, or sacrificial 
writings. "Chu-ch'in" was patterned after the work of Ch'ang-ch'ing 
[or Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju]; it embodies strange stories told in a sophisti- 
cated language and touches the supernatural. However, with its close- 
knit structure and coherent and smooth language, it is indeed the 
result of the utmost intellectual effort. The subject matter dealt with 
in the "Tien-yin" has the qualities of grace and beauty. Based on the 
experience he obtained through a study of previous writings, it seems 
to have achieved the right principle. It succeeds with flying colors in 
expressing ideas in adequate language: for example, it speaks of 
"Feng-shan" as "beautiful and not elegant," and of "Chu-ch'in" as 
"elegant and not true." This seems to illustrate the truth that hindsight 
is easily clearer than foresight and that taking advantage of an existing 
situation gives one a better chance for success than creating anew. 

When we come to the "Shou-ming" (Reception of mandate) of 
Han-tan [Ch'un], we find it only the echo of former sounds; for like 

14 This piece is found in Shih-chi, Han-shu, and Wen-hsiian. 

15 Referring to the time of confusion subsequent to the usurpation by Wang Mang. 

16 The stone inscription of Hsiang-ju's writing is not mentioned elsewhere. 

17 The full title is: "Chii-ch'ing mei-hsin," criticizing Ch'in and extolling Hsin — 
Wang Mang's dynastic title. 

18 Extolling the virtue of the Han. 

Sacrifices to Heaven and Earth 125 

the tail of a wind its strength is about spent. It just collects rhymes to 
form a sung, or song. Although smooth in language and logical in 
order, it lacks the vigor for flight. The "Wei-te" 19 of Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao 
Chih] postulates a host as protagonist and a guest as antagonist, but 
the question and answer dialogue becomes so devious and slow-moving 
that it consumes thousands of words: it is most laborious but of little 
merit, lacking both swiftness and flaming force. 

Feng-shan, or "sacrifices to heaven and earth," serve to document the 
institutions of an age. Before laying down the general plan of the 
genre, one should first understand the main features of its construc- 
tion. Its bone structure should be erect and in the realm of the hsun-tien, 
or classical, and it ought to be clothed in a language that is elegant 
and rich; its ideas may be old and yet not be so deep that they become 
obscure, and its language, though modern, should betray no sign of 
shallowness. It will be a masterpiece if it contains ideas that shoot 
forth tongues of fire and its language is as clear-cut as a sword blade. 
Even if imitation should become the order of the day, when the 
development of the genre has reached its limit, if one is able to give it 
a freshness of ornamentation, his works would exceed his predecessors' 
in excellence. 

The Tsan : 
In sacrifices to heaven the ruler's merits are emblazoned on stone, 
As a report to heaven from whom he has received such heavenly grace. 
Heard afar from high mountains 
Is his fame, noble and bright. 

Monuments are erected, penetrating the nine heavens, 
Their inscriptions emblazoned in gold, 

Cut according to the norm set by the geese [that is, to none], 20 
And to the patterns of twisted trees, 
As lively as dragons. 

19 Extolling the virtue of the Wei. 

20 In T'ai-hsiian ching, by Yang Hsiung, it is said, "The pattern of the geese conform 
to no norm," used here along with the next figure to illustrate the rugged style of stone 

XXII. Memorial, Part I (The Chang and the Piao) 

Offices are created to carry on the various functions of government, 
and officials of all ranks work together. While the Son of Heaven, 
with fringes of pearls on his crown, holds court, lords and vassals 
come to seek audience, tinkling with jade pendants. They report orally 
in words whose validity is openly checked by reference to their actual 
accomplishments. Thus, when Yao consulted the four chiefs who were 
in charge of the vassal lords, or when Shun recommended the eight 
worthies [to Yao], or when officials repeated their courteous refusal 
of their appointments, 1 or when the ruler dispatched his ministers on 
missions — in all these cases, the words were uttered at court without 
resort to paper and brush. Hence the meaning of the term chang-piao 
is a report [that is, tsou] by word of mouth, and an examination of 
the validity of the words by reference to accomplishments stands for 
the ceremony of bestowing a title of nobility. When T'ai-chia [T'ang's 
grandson; 1738-1725 B.C.] ascended the throne, I Yin wrote a memorial 
warning him of certain pitfalls; 2 and when T'ai-chia again became 
heedful of the constant principle of right and returned to Po, 3 I Yin 
again wrote memorials to praise his effort. 4 This was the first instance 
we find of such advice offered as written memorials. 

The Chou, having the advantage of the experiences of the previous 
two dynasties, witnessed further literary developments. It was custom- 
ary to express one's gratitude by kowtowing and lauding his majesty's 
gracious mandate, or to express one's sense of humility before the 
great, enlightened order of enfeoffment orally; for at the time oral and 
written forms were not yet clearly distinguished, but expressions of 
gratitude can be readily seen. 

During the period of the Seven States no change in the old form 
took place. When memorializing the throne, one was said to present 

1 This includes the declining of the offer of the throne. 

2 See note 1 6, Chapter XIX. 3 Capital of Shang. 

4 The three chapters in the Book, of History entitled "T'ai-chia," grouped together as 
Chapter 14 in the Shang-shu t'ung-chien. 

Memorial, Part I 127 

a shu, or letter. It was the Ch'in which first instituted the change from 
shu to tsou, or memorial. According to the Han institution, there were 
four categories: chang, or to make clear or articulate; tsou, or to me- 
morialize; piao, or to express; and 1, or to discuss. The purpose of the 
chang was to make clear one's feeling of gratitude; of the tsou, to 
investigate and to impeach; of the piao, to express one's own feelings; 
and of the i, to maintain a difference of opinion. Chang literally means 
"clear or articulate." In the Boo\ of Poetry there is a line: "forming 
chang in heaven," 5 which means that its pattern is made articulate. As 
an example of an application of the idea to material things, a mixture 
of red with white is called chang. 6 Piao means literally "to post." 
[Chapter 32] in the Boo\ of Rites is entitled "Piao-chi," meaning that 
one's inner virtue is posted outside in one's manners. As an example of 
the application of this idea to material things, to measure the shadow 
on a sundial is known as piao. Thus the term chang-piao seems to 
have originated. 

We find included in the "Ch'i-lueh" and "I-wen [chih]" 7 records 
of all poetic writings; and yet the chang, piao, tsou, and i, all crucial 
in the conduct of government, are omitted, because they were con- 
cerned with the affairs of various organs of government and were kept 
in the files of their government offices. Few of the piao of the Early 
Han period are still extant. And during the Later Han one of the 
conditions for being selected for official appointment was to pass an 
examination in the chang and tsou. Tso Hsiung's tsou and i, which 
set the pattern for documents of the Grand Secretariat, and Hu Kuang's 
chang and tsou, the best in the country, were both great literary pro- 
ductions. 8 A perusal of Po-shih's [or Hu Kuang's] chang on his visit 
to the royal tombs will convince us of the elegance of his classical style. 9 

5 The Book of Poetry, 60/238/4. 

6 The line is quoted from K'ao-hjung chi, which means to give form or to make 
articulate. See also Chou-li, chiian 40, p. 25a: "[A mixture of] red with white is called 

7 See note 9, Chapter XVII. 

8 Tso Hsiung flourished during the beginning of the second century; Hu Kuang 
lived from 91 to 172. 

9 The work is lost. 

128 Memorial, Part I 

Long ago, Duke Wen of Chin [636-628 B.C.] accepted the order of 
enfeoffment only after declining it three times. Hence, since the end 
of the Han no one has memorialized more than three times in declining 
his appointment. And Ts'ao [Ts'ao] considered it unnecessary for an 
official to memorialize three times in courtesy declining, and also felt 
that the memorial should not contain any superficial and flowery 
rhetoric. For this reason, the piao and chang during the first years of 
the Wei dynasty were written in a matter-of-fact style. If one's interest 
is in the beautiful, then there is little here that may be considered 
praiseworthy. But Wen-chii's [or K'ung Yung's] memorial recom- 
mending Ni Heng 10 is marked with lively spirit and flying colors, 
and those of K'ung-ming [or Chu-ke Liang], bidding farewell to the 
young ruler, 11 fully express his ideas, which were couched in smoothly 
flowing language. These writings may differ in that Wen-chii's is 
beautiful while Chu-ke's are factual, but both are heroes in the genre 
of piao. The chang and piao of [Ch'en] Lin and [Juan] Yii won them 
great fame during their time; K'ung-chang's [or Ch'en Lin's] was 
particularly known for its literary vigor. His piao is indeed the standard 
of its kind. Ch'en-ssu's [or Ts'ao Chih's] piao is the best of all these 
talented works, elegant in style, melodic in prosody, pure in language, 
and clear in thought. He artfully adapted his talents to things as they 
were, and always described the changing situation with the same life 
and spirit. Just because he was in full control at the rein, he was able to 
maintain an equally even pace whether he was slowing down or 
speeding up his tempo. 

During the first years of the Chin dynasty, Chang Hua [232-300] 
was the leader among writers of this genre. The three memorials in 
which he declined the investiture of a lordship are comprehensive in 
reasoning and succinct in language; in elaborating ideas and in com- 
paring facts, he always succeeded in producing a matched pair. The 

10 Flourishing during the Chien-an period, 196-220. 

11 Liu Ch'an, the second ruler of Shu, one of the three kingdoms. He ruled from 
223 to 263, when he surrendered to the Wei. In these memorials, K'ung-ming outlined 
his plans for the invasion of Wei and gave advice to the young ruler concerning the 
affairs of the state. 

Memorial, Part I 129 

world has valued his "Chiao-liao Fu" [Ode to the wren], and has 
overlooked his chang and piao. The memorial by Yang [Hu, 221-278] 
declining the office of a grand general has been greatly praised, and 
that of Yii [Liang, 289-340] declining the position of the royal private 
secretary has been highly lauded. Clear and orderly in declaring their 
minds, theirs are works marked with literary grace. The memorial by 
Liu K'un [270-317] beseeching [Emperor Yuan] to assume the throne 12 
and Chang Chun's about himself 13 are clear and straightforward, both 
memorials especially excelling in their narrative accounts. 

The functions of chang and piao are, respectively, to praise royal 
virtues and to express one's own opinion before the imperial court. 
They are both the ornaments of the person responsible for them and 
the flowers of the state. With the chang one lays bare one's heart before 
the imperial gate; therefore its rule is explicitness; and as the piao is 
a request to halt a certain action, there should be brilliance in its basic 
structure. If we seek after the reality implied in the names of both 
forms, we shall find that the chang is the fundamental form. Therefore, 
the form of a chang is highly articulated, and its aim is to achieve the 
classical; it gives the essentials without being sketchy, and is clear 
without being circumstantial. The genre of piao deals with a wide 
variety of matters. As the relative positions of truth and falsehood are 
always changing, the piao must have intellectual delicacy in order to 
insure that its influence will prevail, and purity of style to drive home 
the effect of its beauty. However, when one has genuine feelings, his 
outward expressions are dependent upon his mental attitude; while 
superficial writers' feelings become cramped by the literary form. If one 
can achieve a proper balance between embellishment and compendious- 
ness, so that flowers and fruits are in good proportion to each other, 
and if there is complete freedom from stammering, one will have 
achieved the right standard. Tzu-Kung [a disciple of Confucius] said, 
"Use your mind to control ideas and your words to win confidence"; 

12 This was in 317 when North China was overrun by the invading tribes from the 
north. The ascension of Emperor Yuan to the throne marked the beginning of the Eastern 
Chin dynasty. 

13 This piece has not been identified. 

130 Memorial, Part I 

his idea is that literary expressions and ideas should be made one. 14 
Hsiin Ch'ing once remarked that it was more satisfying to see a man's 
beautiful literary expressions than woven patterns of silk. 15 Did he 
not express an idea similar to Tzu-Kung's? 

The Tsan: 

In presenting piao at the imperial gate 

Or offering advice before the embroidered screen, 16 

Words should be pure and clear 

And ideas stately and grand, 

Respectful in the narrative of details, 

And neatly ordered, in putting first things first and last things last. 

When endowed with literary talent, a man of virtue 

Produces works which are truly works of art. 

XXIII. Memorial, Part II (The Tsou and the Ch'i) 

The ministers of the T'ang and Yii dynasties memorialized the throne 
by word of mouth. During the Ch'in and the Han, the memorials of 
the officials were known as tsou. Whether the memorial was concerned 
with political affairs, institutions and rites, a report of an emergency, 
or an accusation and impeachment, its general name was tsou. Tsou 
means to present, that is, to present in words the feeling of the masses 
of the people before the throne. The form tsou was created by the 
first emperor of the Ch'in. The writings of the [Ch'in] legalists, 1 
however, were not known for their literary quality. If we examine 
[Prime Minister] Wang Wan's memorial lauding the military merits 

14 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chtian yin-te, 484/ai 12/3 Tso. 

15 Hsiintzu chi-chieh, chiian 3, Chapter 5, p. 53. Liu Hsieh modified the statement to 
suit his purpose. 

^See note 1, Chapter XIX. 

1 The Ch'in built its rule on legalist principles. 

Mem orial, Part II 131 

and virtue of [the first emperor], with its terse expressions and simple 
ideas, or that of Li Ssu about [the tomb at] Mount Li, brief in narrative 
and absurd in ideas, we shall see that the lack of grace and benign 
spirit in government has found expression in the writings of the 
dynasty. 2 Since the Han, memorials have also been known as shang- 
shu 3 [that is, presentation of a shu\. As there have been good scholars 
in great number, the literary quality of the shu has been most com- 
mendable. Chia Ps memorial on the importance of agriculture, Ch'ao 
Ts'o's on military affairs, K'uang Heng's on sacrificial rites to heaven, 
Wang Chi's on the principle of conduct, or li, Wen Shu's on mitigating 
criminal punishment, and Ku Yung's remonstrating against the belief 
in the immortals 4 are works marked by clear-cut and effective reason- 
ing, and smooth and readable literary style. These writers may be said 
to have known the main fine points of the genre. 

The Later Han witnessed the emergence of many worthies, the 
brilliance of whose magnificent utterances has not been dimmed. Yang 
Ping's urgent remonstrance with the emperor on the basis of a natural 
calamity, 5 and Ch'en Fan's indignation about discriminatory grants 
of royal favor 6 are works [characterized by advice so frank as to be 
painful in the ear] as a fishbone [in the throat]. 7 Chang Heng's criti- 
cism of earlier historical works, 8 and Ts'ai Yung's concern about court 
rituals 9 are specimens of erudition and lucidity. 

2 A good illustration of the assumed literary principle that the quality of a government 
is reflected in the literary writings of the time. 

3 Shu means to analyze systematically. 

4 A belief advocated by the religious Taoists. Many Chinese rulers, desperate for im- 
mortality, succumbed to it. 

5 Emperor Huan, 147-167, overindulged in pleasures. One day when he was out visit- 
ing, a great tree was blown down, roots and all, by a big wind. Yang Ping took this as 
an omen which augured ill for the emperor if he did not mend his ways. See his biog- 
raphy in Hou-hanshu. 

6 Also written during the reign of Emperor Huan. 

7 Straightforward advice hurts one's ear as a fishbone in one's throat hurts his throat. 
Hence a fishbone in the throat becomes a figure for frank advice. 

8 Chang Heng, in his memorial to Emperor An, 107-125, listed over ten items in 
Ssu-ma Ch'ien's Shih-chi and Pan Ku's Han-shu which were not in accord with historical 
facts, and expressed the desire to work in the Tung-kuan where all historical records 
were kept. See his biography in the Hou-hanshu, chiian 89. 

9 See his biography in the Hou-hanshu, chiian 90 hsia. 

132 Memorial, Part II 

In the Wei dynasty there arose many prominent ministers, who 
produced a large number of literary works. Kao T'ang's [or Kao Tang- 
lung's] astrological memorial, 10 Huang Kuan's memorial on education, 
Wang Lang's on economy, and Chen I's on the competitive examina- 
tions dealt with their subject matters exhaustively, and with a thorough 
knowledge of government. 

The Chin dynasty was afflicted with a great deal of trouble, and 
under these adverse circumstances masses of people were forced to take 
to the road. Liu Sung's memorial expressing his concern about the 
situation of the times, and that of Wen Ch'iao expressing his anxiety 
about the lavish expenditures on construction, set the pattern of loyalty 
for those in charge of the management of the state. 

The tsou as a form of writing demands as its foundation the qualities 
of lucidity, truthfulness, simplicity, and sincerity; and it opens with an 
approach which is analytical and systematic. The ideas expounded 
should be cogent enough to fire enthusiasm for carrying the task to 
completion, and the experience of the author broad enough to enable 
him to follow out all the ramifications of the reasoning. He should 
consider the principles prevailing in ancient times in his management 
of the present, and keep the mass of details under control and reduce 
them to the essential. It is in these that the substance of this form 
of writing consists. 

The tsou's function in accusation and impeachment is to clarify 
the law and rid the state of evil. The T'ai-p'u of the Chou checked a 
criminal act and corrected evil conduct; the Yii-shih of the Ch'in 
enforced the law; the Han created the Chung-ch'en to be in charge of 
accusation and impeachment. 11 These officers occupied a position simi- 
lar to that of a striking hawk, 12 and so had to grind and sharpen 
their spirits to such a point that stormy winds would whirl from the 

10 Certain astronomical phenomena were taken to be a warning given by the August 
Heaven to the Son of Heaven for his misconduct. 

11 T'ai-p'u, Yii-shih, and Chung-ch'en were law-enforcing offices of the respective 

12 Hawk is used as a figure for a law-enforcing officer because of the similar nature 
of ruthlessness. 

Memorial, Part II 133 

tips of their brushes and cutting frosts settle on their bamboo strips. 13 
K'ung Kuang's memorial accusing Tung Hsien is a factual narrative 
of the latter's crime, while that of Lu Ts'ui accusing K'ung Yung is 
false and mudslinging libel. The heart of a great scholar is indeed 
different from that of a treacherous man. 14 Fu Hsien [of Chin, 239- 
294] was a man of strong and candid character, and his memorials 
are marked with firm and biting statements. Liu Wei [of Chin, 
flourishing about 317] was stern and just, and yet his impeachment 
memorials are often vague and sketchy. Each seems to have his own 
way of doing things. Later writers of impeachment memorials used 
these as their references, and although new forms were emerging 
every day, the old pattern has been preserved unchanged. 

While the aim of an armorer is to protect, that of a maker of arrows 
is to kill. 15 Since it is its purpose to expose evil, an impeachment 
memorial cannot help but be severe and harsh. In the Boo\ of Poetry, 
when censuring a sycophant, it says, "Throw him to the wolf and 
tiger"; 16 in the Boo\ of Rites, when showing displeasure toward those 
who are unprincipled, it compares them to parrots or chimpanzees; 17 
Mo Ti, in denouncing the Confucians, looked upon them as sheep and 
hogs; while Mencius, when ridiculing the Mohists, compared them to 
birds and beasts. 18 If we find such cutting expressions in Poetry, Rites, 
Mencius, and Motzu, how can we expect impeachment memorials, 
whose very nature is severeness, to be free from them? Thus, writers 
in general vie with one another in the art of upbraiding. They blow 
aside the fur to seek faults 19 and penetrate the bone to find crimes. 20 They 

13 These were necessary paraphernalia for rendering a court judgment. 

14 See Tung Hsien 's biography in Han-shu, chiian 93, and that of K'ung Yung in 
Hou-han-shu, chiian 100. 

15 Mengtzu yin-te, 13/2A/7. 16 Mao-shih yin-te, 48/200/6. 

17 The Book °f Rites. See Li-chi yin-te, 1/6, "Ch'ii-li." Both parrots and chimpanzees 
can talk, but they are not men because they do not live according to moral principles 
(//'). If a man failed to live according to moral principles, he would be just another 
parrot or chimpanzee. 

18 Motzu, "Fei-ju," hsia; Mengtzu yin-te, 25/3B/9. 

19 A phrase used in the biography of Prince Ching of Chung-shan in Han-shu, mean- 
ing to go out of the way to discover weak points. 

20 This line may also be interpreted as: ". . . and are cruel and ruthless in their 
bone-penetrating accusations." 

134 Memorial, Part II 

seem to be good at scolding, but often miss the golden mean. If only 
they could open wide the gate of morals and post high principles, or 
erect a standard by pointing to the road of righteousness, then those 
who climbed over forbidden walls would have their legs broken and 
those who sought unsanctioned short cuts would lose their toes. 21 And 
where would be the necessity for hot words and scandalous utterances, 
or the desire to blame and censure? Thus, in an effort to establish a 
standard and to apply its criteria for this form of writing, one should 
first understand its essential nature. Its structure should conform to a 
certain classic form and its language possess a style worthy of becoming 
a prevailing standard. In order to be an outstanding hero among the 
feasting guests, upright and reverent within and righteous and impar- 
tial without, a writer in this genre should possess the legalist spirit of 
law and the literary vigor of the Confucians; he should be able to 
oppose powerful and ruthless forces unafraid 22 and convey his con- 
victions through ink, giving no quarter to crooked elements; 23 indeed, 
his voice should be a moving influence beyond the bamboo strips. 

Ch'i, or to inform, means literally "to open." When Kao-tsung 
[Emperor Wu-ting of the Shang; 1339-1279 B.C.] said, "Open your 
heart and fertilize my mind," 24 he was using the term in this sense. 
The name of Emperor Ching [of the Early Han] was Ch'i, hence it 
was taboo during the Han and the term ch'i was not used. 25 It was 
during the Wei period that short notes to the throne were called ch'i. 
Sometimes at the end of a memorial, ching-ch'i ["I respectfully open 
my heart," or "respectfully submitted"] was used as a closing phrase. 
Since the time of Chin, ch'i has become current in use. It is used either 
as a piao or as a tsou. In presenting political views it is used as an 

21 Climbing walls and taking short cuts are figures for behavior which does not 
conform to the recognized moral standard. 

22 Mao-shih yin-te, 71/260/5. 2Z Ibid., 66/253/5. 

24 Kao-tsung procured the services of Fu Yueh, an able minister who had appeared to 
him in a dream. The line quoted was addressed to Fu. The term for "open" is ch'i. 
Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 17/01 60-5. 

25 The people are not allowed to speak or write the character which happens to be 
part of the name of their ruler or of their father. To violate this taboo is considered an 
act of sacrilege. 

Memorial, Part II 135 

alternate to the tsou, and it becomes a substitute for the piao when it 
is used to decline the conferment of a title of nobility or to express 
gratitude for royal grace. It is of the very essence of its nature to be 
pure, to be conformable to the principles of rhetoric and swift in tempo, 
to be distinct and clean in presenting arguments, and to be in beautiful 
literary form but without excessive ornamentation. These, in general, 
are some of the ideas governing the genre ch'i. 

Again, the piao and tsou contain ideas which are firm and to the 
point; they are known as "frank speaking," and [because it is frank, 
aims at correcting the] bias; of course, if the kingly way itself is in- 
fested with personal bias, the spirit of the broad and grand is violated. 26 
[But at any rate, it is because of] its [aiming at correcting] the personal 
bias 27 [that this form] is known as frank speaking. And Emperor 
Ch'eng of the Han highly praised Pan Po's frank address, just because 
he valued straightforwardness. 

Ever since the establishment during the Han dynasty of the eight 
talented scholars, 28 there have been secret memorials concerning the 
principles of yin and yang. These memorials were submitted in sealed 
black pouches, a circumstance which earned them the name of "sealed 
memorials." Now, when Ch'ao Ts'o had received instruction in the 
Boo^ of History [from Fu-sheng], he came back and reported to the 
emperor on pien-i [that is, on all that was convenient (pien) to the 
government and all that was suitable (/') to the people]. And later 
such pien-i were often attached to the "sealed memorials," the idea 
being to keep the reports a top government secret. The king's minis- 
ters, unselfish in motive, 29 will always speak frankly. So when there 

26 In the "Hung Fan" of the Book, of History we have: "There is neither one-sided- 
ness nor partisan spirit, for broad and grand is the kingly way; and there is neither 
partisan spirit nor one-sidedness, for the kingly way is level and plain." S hangs hu 
t'ung-chien, 24/0490-505. 

27 The text is corrupt. The interpretation given here is based on the emendated read- 
ings of Fan Wen-Ian and Wang Li-ch'i. 

28 Each of these was entrusted with one special duty: some in charge of harmonizing 
the yin and the yang principles, some in charge of the calendar, music, etc. See "Hsu 
li-yiieh chih" in Hou-lian-shu, and Chang-huai's commentary. 

29 An abbreviated quotation from the Book, of Changes, statement attached to line two 
of the hexagram chien. See Chou-i yin-te, 24/39/2. The full line: "The king's minister 

136 Memorial, Part II 

are good ministers, there will be good government. Therefore it is not 
necessary to dwell at length on this form of writing. 

The Tsan: 
The Ssu-chih 30 in black garb 
Keeps government clean of all evil influences. 
With brush sharp as a sword 
And ink deadly as poisonous wine, 
His censorious cut may penetrate the bone, 
And yet it will not mar the complexion. 
In offering political views or suggesting policies, 
He is the man to trust. 

XXIV. Discussion and Answer (The I and the Tui) 

On the Plain of Chou [King Wen's grandfather, the ancient lord Tan- 
fu] asked questions and discussed [matters], 1 and "discussion" is the 
meaning of the term /'. The literal meaning of /, or to discuss, is 1, or 
appropriate, [so that the complete concept is] "an examination of mat- 
ters to find out what is appropriate." In the Boo\ of Changes under 
the hexagram chieh, or limitation, it is said, [Guided by hexagram 
chieh] the superior man creates measures and discusses the nature of 
virtue and conduct. 2 Now the "Book of Chou" [in the Boo\ of 
History] says, "When affairs are discussed according to certain rules 

is beset by obstruction upon obstruction, but it is not due to his selfish motive." 

30 An office created in the Han to assist the prime minister in exposing the corrupt 
elements in the government. 

1 A combination of ideas contained in two lines in Poem 237 in the Boo\ of Poetry. 
In this poem the first effort in the building of the Chou dynasty is described. Tan-fu 
was discussing problems with those who chose to follow him to Mount Ch'i, to which 
they removed under the pressure of the western tribes. As is true in so many cases, 
it is the term "discussing" which attracts our author in whatever context it occurs. 

2 Chou-i yin-te, 36-37/60/hsiang. 

Discussion and Answer 137 

[or chih], the government will be free from error." 3 So according to 
the principles laid down in the Classics themselves, in this type of dis- 
cussion chieh-chih [that is, "limitation and regulation," or simply "the 
exercise of control"] must be emphasized. 

Kuan Chung once said that Hsuan-yiian [the Yellow Emperor] 
instituted the practice of i in the Tower of Enlightenment. 4 So it is 
deeply rooted in the distant past. During the difficult times of inunda- 
tion, Yao asked the four chiefs for advice; and Shun, in selecting men 
to fill the hundred offices, asked for the opinion of the five ministers. 
The rise of the three dynasties [Hsia, Shang, and Chou] was due to 
their efforts in seeking advice from the woodcutters [or the common 
people]. In the Ch'un-ch'iu it is related that when [Ch'u] freed the 
duke of Sung, Duke Hsi of Lu took part in the discussion. 5 When 
King Wu-ling of Chao was planning to adopt barbarian dress, 6 his 
policy was contested [tseng-lun] by his uncle [Prince Ch'eng]. 7 And 
the reform policy of Shang Yang was hotly argued [chiao-pien] by 
Kan Lung. 8 Although the forms [/', or discussion; lun, or discourse; 
and pien, or argument] are all different, it is easy to see in what ways 
they agree and differ. 

It was in the Han dynasty that po-i became an independent term. 9 
Po means mixed [originally, mixed of different colors]. When the i 

8 Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 40/0318-25. 

4 See Kuantzu, "Huan-kung wen" (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), chiian 18, Chapter 56, 
p. 302. 

5 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 117-118/Hsi 21/8, 8 Kung-yang. 

6 This took place in 306 B.C. See "Chao Shih-chia" in Shih-chi. 

7 / has been defined in Chapter XXII as "to maintain a difference of opinion." So even 
though the term i does not appear in this and the following instance, this sense of the 
term is apparently meant when the author speaks of "contesting" or "arguing." 

8 See the biography of Lord Shang in Shih-chi. Lord Shang was a legalist and, like 
all the legalists, advocated changes in the government, to meet the need of the time, 
which were based upon a concept of history closer to that of modern times than any 
other in ancient China. But Kan Lung, arguing on the basis of ancient sages' principles, 
tried to wreck his reform policy. In all these cases, what interests the author is the fact 
of arguing or discussing. The various forms of arguing or discussing represent for him 
the different moments in the development of the form of writing called / in this chapter. 

9 See the four forms of memorials in Chapter XXII, of which the fourth is i, an 
abbreviated form of po-i. Po-i is the kind of memorial which maintains a personal opinion 
differing from the opinion of others. 

138 Discussion and Answer 

is not pure but mixed, it is characterized as po. With the explicit 
definition of the i during the two Han periods, it achieved a distinct 
form. As the court was crowded with talented scholars, it was filled 
with their discourse. Chia I, in his effort to express the ideas for the 
old scholars at court, was an example of a nimble talent for discussion. 10 
As for Chu-fu's i arguing against the prohibition of carrying bows, 11 
[Han] An-kuo's argument about the Huns, 12 Chia Chuan-chih's con- 
tention over the expedition against Chu-yai, 13 and Liu Hsin's i on the 
controversy over the worship of the royal ancestors, 14 they may differ 
in content as well as in language, but they have all achieved the 
essential aims of the genre. 

Then there were Chang Min's judgment on the law governing 
insult, 15 Kuo Kung's argument about exercising the power of execu- 
tion on one's own authority, 16 Ch'eng Hsiao's condemnation of the 

10 See his biography in Shih-chi. 

11 "Chu Fu" should be "Wu-ch'iu." See the biography of Wu-ch'iu Shou-wang in 
Han-shu, where the 1 is recorded. 

12 See his biography in Han-shu. 

13 See his biography in Han-shu. Chu-yai is the present Hai-nan island south of 
Kuangtung province. The natives rebelled against the Han rule, and there was talk of 
sending an expedition against them. Chia Chiian-chih argued against it. 

14 During the first year of Emperor Ai (6 B.C.), after a long controversy over the 
problem of how many ancestral halls were to be maintained by the ruling house and 
which were to be discontinued after a certain period, Liu Hsin came forth with the 
proposal, based on the "Wang-chih" (the King's Institution) in the Li-chi, that the Son 
of Heaven maintain seven ancestral halls, which he defended against various other pro- 
posals, including one that only five halls be maintained. Liu Hsin also believed that a 
ruler with great achievements should have a hall maintained permanently. He included 
in this category the hall of Emperor Wu, which it had previously been urged should be 
discontinued at a given time. 

15 During the reign of Chien-ch'u (76-83) a son killed a man who had insulted his 
father. Emperor Chang (76-88) pardoned him, saving him from execution, the punish- 
ment for killing. During the next reign, that of Emperor Ho (89-105), this precedent 
became established as law, known as the law governing insult. Chang Min, afraid that 
this might lead to lawlessness, argued against it. Emperor Ho accepted his advice. 

16 During the reign of Yung-p'ing (58-59), Ch'in P'eng, a subordinate of General 
Tou Ku, was given a separate command. He executed people on his own authority. Tou 
Ku reported it to the throne as a case of insubordination. The emperor had the ministers 
at court discuss the matter. With the exception of Kuo Kung, all ministers were in favor 
of Tou Ku's opinion that Ch'in P'eng had no authority to execute people without first 
reporting the case to his superior. Kuo argued that since P'eng had been given a separate 
command, he should also exercise the authority of control over his forces, as it would be 
impossible for him to carry out his duty with any degree of efficiency if he had to 

Discussion and Answer 139 

chiao-shih, 17 Ssu-ma Chih's discussion about the use of coin, 18 Ho 
Tseng's proposal to exempt married daughters from being involved 
in the crime of their father's family, 19 Ch'in Hsiu's suggestion on 
Chia Ch'ung's posthumous title; 20 all these are good and appropriate 
in view of the facts they were dealing with. The authors may be said 
to have understood the principles of the form of i. 

During the Han period Ying Shao led the group of the best dis- 
putants; and during Chin times it was Fu Hsien who stood out among 
the able i writers. Chung-yuan [or Ying Shao], a learned scholar of 
antiquity, was systematic in explanation and organization; Ch'ang-yii 
[or Fu Hsien], on the other hand, though possessing considerable 
knowledge of government, was rather loose and verbose in his presen- 
tation. Lu Chi's judgment in his discussion [of the proper form for 
the biographies of the first three rulers of] the Chin dynasty 21 is 

consult his superior in matters which required immediate decision. The emperor accepted 
his opinion, 

17 The chiao-shih were all-purpose officials created during the reign of Emperor Wu 
of Han to meet a certain emergency; they became very powerful and arrogant during 
the time of Chia-p'ing (249-254) of the Wei dynasty. They interfered with every office, 
simply because there was no clear-cut definition of their functions. As a result of Ch'eng's 
argument against them, the office was abolished. 

18 In 221 Emperor Wen of the Wei dynasty abolished the use of coin and ordered 
grains and silk to be used in its stead. During the next reign, speculators wet the grain 
and reduced the weight of the silk, creating a great deal of confusion. Ssu-ma Chih 
counseled returning to the use of coin. Emperor Ming ordered that the use of coin 
be restored. 

19 Previously a woman had been criminally implicated if either her father's family or 
her husband's had committed a crime. Ho Tseng, in the memorial prepared for him by 
Ch'eng Hsien, argued that it was against the spirit of the law to place a woman in 
double jeopardy. His final contention was that an unmarried woman should be involved 
only in her father's crime, and a married woman only in that of her husband's family. 

20 Chia Ch'ung, one of the strong men who helped the house of Ssu-ma in usurping 
the throne from the house of Ts'ao and establishing the Chin dynasty, died without male 
issue. His wife adopted the son of their daughter, whose surname was Han, to carry on 
the line. Ch'in Hsiu ridiculed this act. When the imperial order came that a posthumous 
title be suggested for Chia Ch'ung, Ch'in Hsiu proposed htiang, a title traditionally con- 
ferred upon those whose conduct was not in accordance with the correct principles. The 
proposal was not accepted. 

21 Lu's opinion in this matter is preserved in Ch'u-shiieh chi, a collection, edited by 
Hsu Chien et al. of the T'ang under the auspices of the imperial personage. Lu Chi 
believed that the first three rulers of the Chin dynasty had been ministers of the Wei 
dynasty throughout their lives, and hence their lives should be written in the form of 
"true records," but that since they enjoyed the name of rulers the style should be that 
of chi, or annals. See Chapter XVI on History. 

140 Discussion and Answer 

sharp and keen. However, its literary vigor suffers from his verbosity. 
But nevertheless each writer has his own beauty and has preserved 
for us his characteristic style. 

Action should be preceded by discussion 22 and understanding must 
come from investigation of the doubtful; 23 for it is thus that one is 
enabled to approach the task of dealing with affairs of state in a spirit 
of reverence and vigilance capable of rendering his statescraft widely 
effective. Therefore, in substance, the 1 must be based on an adoption 
of the Classics as pivot; on a selection of facts from previous times, 
adapted to the changing needs of the present; on reasoning which 
does not try to complicate matters by adducing inconsequential ramifi- 
cations, and must use rhetoric which does not elaborate any embel- 
lishment unnecessarily. When dealing with worship and sacrifice, the 
writer should know thoroughly the rites connected with it, and in 
military matters, he should be versed in the art of war. A knowledge 
of agriculture is a prerequisite for dealing with agricultural matters, 
and a thorough understanding of law is the sine qua non of any 
attempt to pass a legal judgment. When all these requirements have 
been met, the writer may bring forth ideas which are transparently 
clear, succinctly couched in language which is both accurate and proper. 
His ability to use language should appear in the lucidity and purity 
of his style, and he should not aim at artifice through excessive orna- 
ment. In dealing with events he should strive for clearness and thor- 
oughness, and he should never seek originality by seemingly profound 
but vague presentation. This is the general outline of the form of /'. 
If a writer ignorant of the art of government wields his brush and 
plays with literary composition, piling random phrase upon phrase, 
fabricating and concocting to show his cleverness, not only is his 
empty rhetoric refuted in the face of facts, but even the little reason 
he may have is buried under the pile of his own aimless rhetoric. Long 
ago, the Marquis of Ch'in, who was marrying his daughter to the 
Prince of Chin, sent along [seventy] beautifully dressed maids-in- 

22 Chou-i yin-te, 41/hsi hsiang/6. 2S Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 24/0137-40. 

Discussion and Answer 141 

waiting, and the Prince of Chin preferred the maids to the princess. 24 
A man from Ch'u sold pearls in a cassia-tinted magnolia case to a 
man of Cheng, and the man of Cheng bought the case and returned 
the pearls. 25 If one's language surpasses his ideas, permitting the un- 
essential to outshine the fundamental, it is simply a repetition of the 
cases of the Ch'in princess and the Ch'u pearls. 

In a tui-ts'e, 26 one expresses his political opinion in answer to ques- 
tions given in an edict; and in a she-ts'e 27 one makes an investigation 
of the matter in question and then presents his opinion. When one's 
words are to the point, it is like hitting the mark in archer target- 
practice. Though these terms are different from /, they are, in fact, i 
under new garb. 

In ancient times the selection of accomplished scholars was made by 
choosing those able in practical affairs and investigating their words. 
It was in the middle of the reign of Emperor Wen of the Han [179-157 
B.C.] that the recommendation of the hsien-liang, or the virtuous and 
good, was first put into practice. 28 And Ch'ao Ts'o, in his tui-ts'e 29 
proved himself the best of all. Emperor Wu [140-87 B.C.], bent on a 
more enlightened government, sought men of eminent ability. At that 
time, in the tui-ts'e competition, the first man on the list received im- 
mediate official appointment, and in the she-ts'e competition, the one 
who was in the chia or the highest category 30 entered officialdom. These 
were important among the methods used for the selection of men of 
ability. Ch'ao Ts'o in his tui-ts'e drew evidence from both ancient and 

24 See Han-fei-tzu, chiian n, Chapter 32, "Wai ch'u-shuo," tso, hsiang, p. 198. 

25 Ibid., pp. 198-99. 

26 A memorial in which one answers specific questions in an edict. 

27 Literally, to shoot an edict, a memorial in which one gives an answer to a question 
he chooses from among a number of questions, the nature of which is not previously 

28 This occurred in the year 165 B.C., when Ch'ao Ts'o came out first on the list. 
Early in the second year of the reign of Emperor Wen, 178 B.C., the first imperial edict 
went out for the recommendation of the virtuous and good, but it was the second edict 
which brought in the first crop of them. 

29 In this memorial Ch'ao gave an answer to the emperor's question on the problem 
of establishing peace and prosperity. 

30 The questions to be answered in a she-ts'e are classified into different categories 
according to the degree of their difficulty. The most difficult are in the chia category. 

142 Discussion and Answer 

modern sources; his language is clear-cut and effective, and the facts 
he cites are pertinent and well chosen. His placement at the top of the 
list was very well justified indeed. [Tung] Chung-shu's tui-tse con- 
tinued the tradition set forth in the Ch'un-ch'iu. His was grounded 
in the transforming principles of the yin and the yang, and he was 
fully cognizant of the changes which took place in succeeding dynasties. 
He had to deal with a large mass of material, but he remained free 
from distraction. This was because he thoroughly understood the 
principles of things. Kung-sun [Hung's] tui-tse is brief, showing no 
sign of learned scholarship; but in view of his concentration on es- 
sentials and expression of them in succinct language, and the perti- 
nence of the facts he cited to make clear the true nature of the situation, 
he deserved his elevation to the top by the Son of Heaven in spite of 
his low rating by the T'ai-ch'ang. 31 Tu Ch'in's tui-tse was sketchy 
and left some of the imperial questions unanswered, but it pointed 
out the real source of the emperor's trouble; 32 he wrote to express his 
views on politics and government; he was not writing simply for 
writing's sake. In the Later Han, Lu P'ei's tui-tse was sincere and 
simple in language and in spirit. He brought to the form the grace 
and elegance of a great Confucian, and [from among more than a 
hundred scholars] he alone was placed at the top. The five writers 
listed above set the bright standard of former times. Since then Wei 
and Chin writers have gone in for literary embellishment. We can 
expect a great deal of difficulty when one whose chief interest is in 
embellishment tries to record facts; and those selected to answer im- 
perial questions in later times often pleaded illness and kept away from 
the tests. Thus it became impossible to get writing which was even 
literary. During the Han time when a feast was given in honor of the 
po-shih, or learned scholars, pheasants gathered in the court, 33 but 

31 An office in charge of ceremonial rites, which traditionally is also in charge of 
education and state examination. 

32 The questions for answers came from Emperor Ch'eng (32-7 B.C.), who indulged 
in women. At the end of Tu Ch'in's answer, he admonished the emperor about his 
indulgence, which was the emperor's real trouble. 

33 This happened in 18 B.C., the third year of Hung-chia (20-17 Bc ) during the 

Discussion and Answer 143 

when the Chin [emperor] examined the hsiu-ts'ai, or outstanding tal- 
ents, only chun, or a species of deer, appeared. 34 There is nothing 
strange about these [contrasting] circumstances, because in one case 
the examination system was well kept, while in the other case it 
showed signs of neglect. 

A po-i 35 is a memorial in which one argues one-sidedly, and each 
arguer holds to his own opinion. In a tui-ts'e, one develops his point 
of view in answer to the imperial questions in order to bring forth 
the principles of government. In dealing with the events of the day, 
he shows his deep understanding of the art of ruling, and in presenting 
his reasons, he proves to be a man of insight with respect to the current 
situation. He goes back to the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors 
for suggestions to mould the present world, and his is not circuitous 
high-sounding empty talk. He recommends measures which are ex- 
pedient under changing circumstances to get the people out of difficulty, 
and his is not the sharp eloquence of a sophist. Like winds sweeping 
over the vastness of space and reaching far, or a river full and yet not 
overflowing — a tui such as this is an excellent answer in the court of 
the king. 

Difficult indeed is the task of evaluating the talent of a scholar. He 
may be versed in the art of ruling but lack the ability to write, or he 
may possess literary ability and yet be inexperienced in government. 

reign of Emperor Ch'eng. The gathering of pheasants was considered a good omen, 
happening only at a time when there was good government and peace, and when art 
and literature were patronized at court. 

34 The connotation of the term chiin is not clear. Sun Sheng took it to be an auspicious 
omen, indicating patronage of art and literature at court. See Chins hu, "Wu-hsing-chi." 
In this sense, its appearance could be considered as untimely, as in the case of the 
appearance of the unicorn, which prompted Confucius to give up editing the Ch'un-ch'iu. 
From the context, however, the term chiin seems to augur ill, perhaps to symbolize a lack 
of patronage of art and literature. In Chapter XLVIII Liu Hsieh contrasted chiin with lin, 
the legendary unicorn. But this is hardly sufficient evidence to establish the connotation 
of the term chiin, because in that chapter he also contrasted chih, a pheasant, which 
means a good omen in our present context, with feng, a phoenix, thus making chih 
necessarily a symbol for something not auspicious. Perhaps, this is another case of our 
author's looseness in the use of terms. 

35 See note 9 above. 

144 Discussion and Answer 

The object of selection through tui-ts'e should be men of versatile 
talents, men full of ideas who have enough literary ability to communi- 
cate them far and wide. Rare indeed is such talent! 

The Tsan: 
The object of the i is political planning, 

And there should be a complete accord between the word and the fact. 
There should always be a valid reason for making any judgment, 
And the language in which it is expressed should never be weak. 
In answering imperial questions at court, 
Many minds meet at the same time to reach concord. 
The principles of government are held in high esteem, 
And are conveyed far and wide in elegant form. 

XXV. Epistolary Writing (The Shu and the Chi) 

The great Shun [of the Yii dynasty] said, "The function of shu is to 
keep records," 1 that is, to record the events of the day. For shu is the 
general name for the words of sages and men of virtue. It is the nature 
of the shu that its principal emphasis is on words. Yang Hsiung said, 
"Words are the sound of the mind; and shu is its picture." 2 When the 
mind's sound and picture take form, we shall be able to see in them 
the character of the man, whether he is a man of virtue or a petty man. 
Thus by shu is meant to express, that is to express one's mind in words 
and put them down on bamboo or wooden slips. This is the result of 
taking a suggestion from the hexagram \uai, z whose emphasis is on 
clear-cut lucidity. 

1 S hangs hu t'ung-chien, 5/0271-4. Shu here means writing in the form of a book. 
Later it came to mean letter writing. 

2 Yang-tzu fa-yen (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), chiian 5, p. 14. Here shu apparently 
means writing down the words. 

3 Hexagram no. 43. See l-ching, I, 177. 

Epistolary Writing 145 

During the Three Dynasties 4 the function of the government was 
simple, and there was little epistolary writing. During the period of 
Ch'un-ch'iu, international relations became more complicated, and the 
volume of letters and number of emissaries greatly increased. Jao-ch'ao 
presented Shih-hui a ts'e? Tzu-chia [of Cheng] wrote a letter to Chao 
Hsuan-tzu [of Chin], 6 Wu-ch'en left Tzu-fan a note, 7 and Tzu-ch'an 
[of Cheng] sent a letter to Fan Hsiian-tzu of Chin remonstrating 
[against Chin's demanding heavy tribute from smaller states]. 8 Reading 
these four letters, one feels he is talking face to face with the authors. 
Again when [Duke Ch'eng of] T'eng died, Tzu-shu Ching-shu [of 
Lu] presented T'eng with a letter of condolence. 9 From the existence 
of these examples, we know that words entrusted to envoys were often 
put down in the form of epistles. 

The epistolary writings during the Seven States period were clever 
and beautiful, and there were many of them. And the body of writing 
of this type dating from the time of Han presents a profuse variety 
of expressions and spirits. Shih-ch'ien's [or Ssu-ma Ch'ien's] letter to 
Jen-an, Tung-fang So's letter arguing with Kung-sun [Hung], Yang 
Yun's answer to [Sun] Hui-tsung, and Tzu-yiin's [or Yang Hsiung's] 
reply to Liu Hsin are all works characterized by grand ideas and a 
lofty spirit, each having its own particular pattern; each is an em- 

4 Traditionally, the three dynasties of Hsia, Shang, and Chou. Here the author appar- 
ently used it to include Hsia, Shang, and the first part of Chou. 

5 There are two interpretations of the term ts'e: a horsewhip and a bamboo slip con- 
taining a political message. The author apparently adopted the second interpretation. 
But the first interpretation is more fitting with the situation of a departing man. See 
Tso-chuan, Duke Wen, thirteenth year (Shih-san-ching chu-su ed.), chiian 19 hsia, 
p. 10b, commentaries. 

6 In the seventeenth year of Duke Wen of Lu, Chin met with the lords at Huang-fu 
in a conference. The Duke of Chin refused to see the Marquis of Cheng because Cheng 
had shown some tendency to align itself with the state of Ch'u. Cheng Tzu-chia wrote 
the letter to explain Cheng's earlier dealings with Ch'u. See Ch-un-ch'iu ching-chuan 
yin-te, 174/ Wen 17/5 Tso. 

7 Wu-chen, a minister of Ch'u, who fled to Chin when Tzu-fan and Tzu-chung, on 
account of old grudges, massacred Wu-ch'en's clan, wrote a note to Tzu-fan and Tzu- 
chung from Chin, stating that he would not give either of them any rest. He then went 
from Chin to Wu, an undeveloped state neighboring Ch'u, and taught the Wu people 
the art of war. After this, Wu became a constant threat to Ch'u, giving Tzu-fan and 
Tzu-chung no rest at all. Ibid., 225 /Ch'eng 7/ 10 Tso. 

8 Ibid., 302/Hsiang 24/fu 1. * Li-chi yin-te, 4/46. 

146 Epistolary Writing 

broidery on a foot of silk, 10 expressing all the flutterings and oscilla- 
tions of the square-inch heart. 11 

In the Later Han period, Ts'ui Yuan was especially good at the 
art of letter writing. During the Wei, Yiian-yu [or Juan Yii ?] was 
described as "light and swift." 12 And the writings of Wen-chii [or 
K'ung Yung] were all preserved, including fragments [in recognition 
of their excellence]. 13 Hsiu-lien [or Ying Chii] loved letter writing and 
paid much attention to its perfection, but his must be ranked as sec- 
ondary. Hsi K'ang's letter severing friendly relations [with Shan T'ao; 
205-283] is one marked by lofty ideas and a grand style. 1 * Chao Chih's 
letter [to Hsi Fan] depicting his sadness at separation is expressive of 
the eagerness and impatience of youth. As to the hundred letters dictated 
by Ch'en Tsun, each conveys his feelings in exactly the right measure, 
and as to those written by Ni Heng [for Huang Tsu], each is ap- 
propriate in expressing sentiments toward relations of all degrees of 
closeness. These two were especially talented in the art of letter writing. 

A general survey of the nature of shu reveals that its purpose is to 
state one's feelings in words without reserve, and its function is to un- 
burden the mind of its melancholy thought in the form of elegant 
colors. Therefore its style should be orderly and smooth, capable of 
expressing the spirit of the writer, easy and soft and pleasant to the 
reader. With its language clear and natural, it is indeed the presentation 
of the sound of the heart. 

The distinction of men of honor and nobility is brought out by the 
attitude of reverence expressed in the ceremonial form. Before the 
Warring States period, the epistles of both the ruler and the ministers 
were styled shu. With the establishment of Ch'in institutions, we ob- 

10 Silk was then the writing material. 

11 See p. 108 above, and note 39, Chapter XVIII. 

12 A term Wei Wen-ti — Ts'ao P'ei — used in his letter to Wu Chih ( ?-23o) to describe 
Juan Yii's letter writing. See Wen-hsiian (Ssu pu pei-yao ed.), chiian 42, p. 421. 

13 Wei Wen-ti liked K'ung Yung's writing so much that he ordered everything 
written by him to be presented to the court for prizes of gold and silk. 

14 Shan T'ao, about to retire, was going to recommend Hsi K'ang to take his place. 
On hearing this, Hsi wrote a letter swearing to have nothing to do with him. Hsi, who 
had a Taoist bent, was afraid to be mixed up in the politics of that tumultuous time. 

Epistolary Writing 147 

serve the first appearance of piao and tsou. 15 In the case of the epistles 
to princes and dukes, the term tsou-shu, or memorial letter, was also 
used. The tsou-shu of Chang Ch'ang to the mother of Prince Chiao- 
tung expresses excellent ideas. 16 Various terms appeared during the 
Later Han. In the office of the [San-]kung [the three highest ministers], 
the term tsou-chi, or letter presenting the record, was used [for corre- 
spondence], while in the headquarters of local generals, tsou-ch'ien, or 
letter presenting the note, was used. Chi means to express one's ideas, 
that is, to present his ideas. Ch'ien means to express, that is, to express 
and indicate one's feelings. Ts'ui Shih's tsou-chi [to Liang Chi] 17 
sounded the moral tone of self-effacement and yielding; while Huang 
Hsiang's tsou-ch'ien at Chiang-hsia 18 left behind a pattern in expressing 
reverence. Kung-kan's [or Liu Chen's] ch'ien and chi, or letters to 
high ministers and local generals, or letter writing in general, are 
beautiful and contain ideas which prove to be beneficial advice to 
the receivers. And yet Tzu-huan [or Ts'ao P'ei] left him out [of his 
essay on literature], a fact which accounts for his neglect by the world. 
If we overlook the reputation and concentrate on the fact, we shall see 
that Liu Ch'en's epistolary writings are much more beautiful than his 
poetry. Liu I's letter expressing his gratitude for royal grace contains 
pertinent similes reflecting his sincere sentiment, and Lu Chi's letter 
defending himself is thorough in expressing his feeling and artful in 
form. Both may be considered good specimens of the ch'ien. Ch'ien 
and chi are related to the piao, or the memorial expressing gratitude, 
on one hand, and to the shu, or memorial letter, on the other. They 
should be written in a spirit of reverence without any sign of fear, 
and should be succinct without showing any arrogance, pure and 
graceful in unfolding the wealth of the writer's talents, and bright and 
colorful in embodying their sounds in a literary form. These charac- 
teristics form the special province of ch'ien and chi. 

15 See Chapters XXII and XXIII. 

16 The prince's mother indulged in hunting. Chang Ch'ang cited good examples from 
the past to warn her concerning her indulgence. 

17 Ts'ui served under Liang Chi. The letter is lost. 

18 Also lost. 

148 Epistolary Writing 

The scope of shu-chi 19 is vast, covering a number of forms. Since 
days of old there have been many terms used to designate various 
kinds of notes and records. For those used in ruling and guiding the 
people, we have: p'u, or chronicle; chi, or register; pu, or warrant; and 
lu, or record; in medicine, chronology, astrology, and divination, we 
have: fang, or prescription; shu, or operation; chan, or divination; 
and shih, or formula; in proclaiming laws and military movement, 
we have: lii, or law; ling, or order; fa, or regulation; and chih, or 
ordinance; in creating confidence in trade relations, we have: fu, 
or tally; ch'i, or contract; chiian, or bond; and shu, or sales slip; 
in government requests for information, we have: \uan, or credential; 
tz'u, or to pierce; chieh, or record of settlement; and tieh, or memo- 
randum; and in expressing their feelings, the people use: chuan, or 
notice; lieh, or narrative account; tzu, or viva voce-, and yen, or prov- 
erb. All these give utterance to the reasons formed in the mind and 
present it in words. Although they are insignificant as literary forms, 
they precede everything else in importance in handling government 

Fu, or chronicle, means literally p'u, or comprehensive. [This form] 
presents the order of successive generations; it is comprehensive in 
its inclusion of all events. Cheng Hsiian, in preparing a p'u for the 
Boo\ of Poetry 20 apparently adopted this sense of the term for his 

Chi, or register, means literally chieh, or to borrow. Every year the 
government borrows a labor force from the people, and keeps a classi- 
fied census on a wooden slip. During the Ch'un-ch'iu period, an office 
was established in charge of the census register, an instance of chi. 

Pu, or warrant, means literally, p'u, or a vegetable garden; the 
classified collection of government documents is similar to the planned 
planting of grasses and trees in a garden. 21 Chang T'ang and Li Kuang 

19 This expression has been rendered as "epistolary writing." But from what may be 
gathered from this last section of the chapter, it seems to have a broader scope, sug- 
gesting the English term "memo." This is another case of the loose use of terms. 

20 The work is known as Shih-p'u — a chronicle of the Boof^ of Poetry. 

21 Apparently pu is also used in the sense of a file. How this is connected with the 
sense of warrants is not clear. 

Epistolary Writing 149 

were both served by the officials with warrants, the function of which 
is to apprehend the fraudulent. 

Lu, or record, means literally ling, or topic. An ancient history en- 
titled Shih-pen 22 keeps records on bamboo slips, with titled topics; 
hence the use of the term lu in regard to it. 

Fang, or prescription, means yii, or a corner. Each medicinal herb, 
in healing, has its particular virtue, particularly effective in one corner 
of the realm of medicine; hence the medicinal formula is known as 

Shu, or operation, means lu, or a road. When we have applied 
number to the calculation of the calendar, our view of the road [or 
way] will then become clear. The Chiu-chang [Nine chapters on arith- 
metic] deals with calculus; so it is known as shu, or the way of opera- 
tion. Wan-pi 23 of Huai-nan [or Prince An of the Han] also belongs 
to this group. 

Chan, or divination, means literally chan, or to spy or watch. Some- 
times the stars are observable and sometimes not. Only by waiting and 
watching is one able to see them. [Duke Hsi of Lu] ascended the ter- 
race and had the astrological changes recorded. 24 So this was called 
chan, or to divine. 

Shih, or formula, means literally tse, or principle. The waxing 
and waning of the yin and the yang principles, or the passing away 
and coming into being of the five elements, though they appear 
to be changes which occur without any regularity, may be seen to be 
obeying certain principles when they are put under observation. 

Lu, or law, or pitch pipe, means chung, or middle or norm. 25 With 
the establishment of huang-chung 26 the five tones are set correctly. 

22 Containing the records of rulers and great ministers from the time of the Yellow 
Emperor to the end of the Ch'in, together with their posthumous titles. 

23 A work dealing with the calendar and arithmetic. 

24 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 94/Hsi 5/ Tso supplement I. 

25 A pitch pipe is a bamboo tube, whose length determines its tone, used as a tuning 
fork. There are twelve pitch pipes of various lengths so adjusted that they give twelve 
semitones, forming a chromatic scale of twelve notes, starting with C. Since they are 
used for tuning the other instruments, they furnish the law by which tones arc deter- 
mined. Hence law becomes part of the meaning of lit. 

26 The first note on the chromatic scale, equivalent to C. 

150 Epistolary Writing 

And with the formulation of laws for governing the people, the eight 
kinds of punishments may be justly applied. To call such laws lu shows 
that they aim at the golden mean or the norm. 

Ling, or order, means literally ming, or mandate. A mandate pro- 
claims certain prohibitions, as if on the authority of heavenly origin. 
The order given by Kuan Chung prevailed like a flowing stream 
because he had the ability to get the people to obey it voluntarily. 

Fa, or regulation, means literally hsiang, or sign or signal. Military 
tactics do not confine themselves to following a prescribed plan; but 
whether an operation is going to be a surprise, or to follow orthodox 
procedure, there must always be some sign [or signal] to indicate its 
course. Hence the use of the term fa, or regulation or sign. 

Chih, or ordinance, means literally ts'ai, or to cut or tailor. A chih 
is issued by the superiors to prescribe the conduct of the subordinates, 
in the same manner as a craftsman manufactures his vessels. 

Fu y or tally, means literally fu, or authenticity. In calling and sum- 
moning troops, one has to guard against false orders; so the command 
has to have evidence of inner authenticity. 27 During the Three Dynas- 
ties, jade was used as a tally, while during the Han times metal and 
bamboo were used. In later times, these were discarded, and written 
tallies were substituted for them. 

Ch'i, or contract, means chieh, or to tie a knot. Life was simple in 
remote antiquity, and knotted cord was used to make a contract bind- 
ing. The way modern tribes in the west count and the way peddlers 
keep records of their money are reminiscent of this practice. 

Chiian, or bond, means literally shu, or to bind or control, that is, 
to state binding conditions clearly to avoid possible fraud. Because 
the characters on a chiian are cut into halves, in Chou times a chiian 
was known as halved writing. 28 In ancient times there was also an iron 
bond, to strengthen one's credit. The bond Wang Pao wrote when he 

27 "Inner authenticity" is a rendering of chung-ju, the sixty-first hexagram in the 
Boo\ of Changes. 

28 The phrase "p'an-shu" occurs in "Hsiao-ssu-k'ou" in Chou-li (Chou-li yin-te, 
9/243). According to a commentator, p'an-shu means halved writing. 

Epistolary Writing 151 

bought the bearded slave may be considered a humorous pattern of 
a bond. 29 

Shu, or sales slip, means literally pu, or to spread out, in the sense 
of spreading out sales articles and itemizing them with rough de- 
scriptions. Hence small bonds and short writings are known as shu. 

Kuan, or pass or credentials, means pi, or to close. People enter and 
go out through a gate, and one must be careful in keeping the gate 
closed. In government it is important to know thoroughly the condi- 
tions promoting smooth working or bottlenecks in government opera- 
tions. When Han Fei asked, "[Kung-]Sun T'an-hui was a virtuous 
minister, so why was he confined to his district?" he had in mind this 
kind of carefulness. 30 

Tz'u, or to pierce, means literally ta, or to convey. The Ancient Poet 
pierced wrongdoing by means of satires; and in the Chou-li we find 
three situations in which tz'u was employed: 31 When a narrative 
account of things is successfully conveyed, it is like the piercing of a 
stoppage by means of a needle. 

Chieh, or to untie, or a record of settlement, means literally shih, or 
to resolve, that is, to untie and resolve [or settle] a knotty problem by 
citing facts as evidence. 32 

Tieh, or memorandum, means literally yeh, or a leaf. Short bamboo 
slips bound into tieh are like leaves on the branch. [Lu] Wen-shu [of 
Han] cut the leaves of rushes [to form a tieh for the purpose of keeping 
records]; this illustrates what is meant by tieh. 33 Before a decision is 

29 When Wang Pao stopped at the house of a widow, a slave that had belonged to her 
dead husband refused to go out and buy wine for him. Enraged, Wang suggested that 
he should buy the man. The slave said that he would not do anything which was not 
explicitly stated in the bond. So Wang drafted the bond, describing in detail the man's 
duties, which included all forms of service imaginable. After reading the bond, the 
slave kowtowed and apologized, saying that he would rather die than become Wang's 
slave. He then obediently went out to buy wine for Wang. See Sun Hsing-yen, Hsu 
\u-wen-yuan, chiian 20. 

30 See Han-jei-tzu, chiian 17, Chapter 42, p. 302. 

31 See Chou-li, "Ch'iu-kuan" under "Ssu-tz'u" — officials in charge of piercing. The 
three tz'u: to get information governing high ministers, to get information about lower 
officials, and to get information about the people. See Chou-li yin-te, 9/ 14b, 26b. 

32 For example, a record of settlement of a quarrel over some territorial boundary. 

33 For Lu Wen-shu, see his biography in Han-shu. 

152 Epistolary Writing 

reached in government planning, short tieh are kept for reference and 
discussion. So a more detailed tieh is known as a ch'ien, or note. 
Ch'ien literally means fine or detailed. 

Chuan, or notice, including obituary, means literally mao, or de- 
scription, that is, to describe according to the original source in order 
to establish the facts. Memorials suggesting posthumous titles for 
men of virtue of previous times all contain obituaries describing the 
characters of these men. This is the most important form of chuan. 

Lieh, or narrative account, means literally ch'en, or to exhibit, ex- 
hibiting true situations so that they will be clearly discernible. 

Tz'u, or viva voce, means literally word of mouth, by means of 
which one conveys his ideas to others. Tzu-ch'an [of the state of 
Cheng] was gifted with tz'u, and the various lords profited from it. 
Indeed, it is impossible to do without tz'u?* 

Yen, or proverb, means literally a straightforward statement. As 
condolences are also unadorned, they too are known as yen. 35 A simple 
expression of the market place is: "Fruits without flowers." Duke Mu 
of Tsou made the statement: "A leaking bag still holds things." 36 These 
are examples of yen. In "T'ai-shih" it is said, "There is an ancient saying 
'A hen should not herald the approach of morning.' " 37 And in "Ta-ya" 
is the statement: "People used to say, 'Through grief I grow old.'" 38 

34 See Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 335/Hsiang 31/6 Tso: The various lords came 
to pay respects to Chin, and were quartered in humble dwellings. When the Duke of 
Cheng arrived, he was not given an audience. Tzu-ch'an, a minister of Cheng, through 
his eloquence, convinced the Chin of their mistake in neglecting their duty of treating 
the lords properly. As a result, the Chin ordered proper quarters built to house the visiting 

35 Yen meaning proverb and yen meaning condolence are two different characters. 
Our author uses only one character, the former one, for both meanings, because of their 
phonetic and probably semantic link. This is the first known instance where the word 
is used in both senses. 

36 Chia I, Hsin-shu, "Ch'un-ch'iu p'ien." 

37 This statement is found in "Mu-shih," Chapter 22 in the Boo\ of History, and not 
in "T'ai-shih," which is Chapter 21. Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 22/0091-4. 

38 This line is found in the "Hsiao-ya" section of the Boo\ of Poetry, in poem no. 
197, entitled "Hsiao P'an," and not in the "Ta-ya" section. Furthermore, the first part 
of the quotation, "People used to say," is not in the original text. Mao-shih yin-te, 

Epistolary Writing 153 

Both these are proverbs coming down to us from antiquity, quoted in 
the Classics. 

Then Ch'en Lin, in his remonstration, said, "Catch sparrows blind- 
folded"; and P'an Yueh, in his lamentation, quoted, "Like pearls on 
one's palm, intimate as husband and wife"; both are proverbs employed 
in literary pieces. If the Boo\ of Poetry and the Boo\ of History, which 
are works from the hands of the sages, quote proverbs which, as literary 
expressions, are the most vulgar imaginable, how can one overlook 
these writings which are superior to the proverbs? 

A survey of these types of letters shows that they all may be sub- 
sumed under the general category of the Shu and the Chi [which is 
the title of this chapter]. Some which deal with identical subject matter 
vary in their literary expressions: some emphasize only the simple 
content, while others also employ literary embellishment. The form 
varies with the type of material under treatment, the important thing 
being the grasp of essentials. Sometimes for the lack of one word the 
meaning is left incomplete, and sometimes one word too many in a 
sentence renders it awkward: these pitfalls should receive the careful 
attention of those in charge, and yet are often overlooked by those 
whose interest is in superficial beauty of expression. However, superb 
talents and great writers often neglect the art of letter writing. Such 
men are like Chiu-fang Yen, whose knowledge of a steed did not in- 
clude a knowledge of its color or sex. 39 Words, which are the ornament 
of a man's person, are also an auspicious decoration of a state. Scholars 
in the "forest of brush" 40 should give thought to the form and structure 
of this genre. 

39 Hui-nan-tzu, chiian 12, "Tao-ying hsiin," p. 198: "Duke Mu of Ch'in . . . sent him 
[Chiu-fang Yen] in search of a steed. He returned after three months and reported that 
he had got one, and it was in Sha-ch'iu. Duke Mu asked, 'What kind of a horse is it?' 
The answer was: 'A male, yellow in color.' a messenger was sent to fetch it and found 
that it was a female horse, and its color was black. Duke Mu was displeased. He sent 
for Po-lo [the most famous horse expert in antiquity] and told him, 'It is an utter failure! 
The one you recommended to go in search of a steed does not even know the animal's 
color or sex! How can he know anything about a horse?' Po-lo heaved a long sigh and 
said, '. . . What Yen was impressed by was the inner spirit. He grasped the subtle factor 
and neglected the vulgar detail.' " 

40 That is, the literary world. 

154 Epistolary Writing 

The Tsan: 

Literary writing develops into many forms, 

Of which one is the epistolary: 

It appears like a galloping steed caparisoned in gold, 

But fulfills its function through simple utterances. 

From the time of antiquity its sound has been heard, 

And it brings response from a thousand li away. 

The mass of entangled affairs 

Becomes comprehensive through their being recorded. 

XXVI. Spiritual Thought or Imagination (Shenssu) 

An Ancient said, "One may be on the rivers and sea in body, but his 
mind remains at the palace gate." 1 This is what I mean by shenssu, or 
spiritual thought or imagination. One who is engaged in literary 
thought travels far in spirit. Quietly absorbed in contemplation, his 
thinking reaches back one thousand years; and with only the slightest 
movement of his countenance, his vision penetrates ten thousand li\ 
he creates the music of pearls and jade between his poetic lines, and 
he witnesses the rolling of wind and clouds right before his brows and 
lashes. These things are possible because of the work of the imagination. 
Through the subtlety of the imagination, the spirit comes into con- 
tact with external things. The spirit resides in the mind, and the key 
to its secret is controlled by both the feelings and the vital force. 
Physical things reach our minds through our ears and eyes, and the 
key to their apprehension is the skilled use of language. When the 
key works smoothly, there is nothing which will not appear in its true 

1 Chuangtzu yin-te, 79/28/56. In its original context, the line speaks of the worldly 
ambition of a man who is in retirement. However, Liu Hsieh ignores this implication and 
is concerned only with the amazing power of thought which transports one to places 
where his body is not. 

Spiritual Thought or Imagination 155 

form; but when its operation is obstructed, the spirit loses its rationale. 
For this reason, vacancy and tranquility are important in the develop- 
ment of literary thinking: the achievement of this state of vacancy and 
tranquility entails the cleansing of the five viscera and the purification 
of the spirit. One has also to acquire learning in order to maintain a 
store of precious information, and to contemplate the nature of reason 
so as to enrich his talents; he must search deeply and experience widely 
in order that he may exhaustively evoke the source of light; he must 
master literary traditions in order to make his expressions felicitous 
and smooth. It is only then that he commissions the "mysterious 
butcher" 2 [who dwells within him] to write in accord with musical 
patterns; and it is then that he sets the incomparably brilliant "master 
wheelwright" 3 [who dwells within him] to wield the ax in harmony 
with his intuitive insight. This, in short, is the first step in the art 
of writing, and the main principle employed in the planning of a 
literary piece. 

When shen-ssu [or spiritual thought] is in operation, all possible 
vistas open up before it. Rules and principles become mere formalities 
and there is not the least trace of carving or engraving. 4 When one 
ascends mountains [in such an inspired state], the whole mountain 
will be tinged with the coloring of his own feelings; and when his 
eyes rove over the seas, the seas will be saturated with his ideas. He 
can roam as companion of the wind and the clouds according to the 
measure of his talents. At the moment when a writer first picks up his 
pen, and before anything has yet been written, he feels as if his creative 
vigor were doubled; but at the completion of the piece, he usually 

2 Ibid., 7-8/3/2-12. The "mysterious butcher," in his cutting of a bull, exhibits such 
profound understanding of the bull that his knife swims between the joints and is still 
as sharp as if newly honed, even after nineteen years of service. Although Chuangtzu, 
a Taoist, was theoretically opposed to all expressions, literary or otherwise, this butcher 
has become the symbol of the highest achievement in literary creation. He is one who 
works through the spirit rather than through the senses. 

3 Ibid., 36/13/68-74. The master wheelwright wields his ax to make a wheel in a 
manner absolutely unique, and hence not communicable. He is another example of the 
artistic height which is reached not by effort but by intuitive insight. 

4 Referring to laborious effort. 

156 Spiritual Thought or Imagination 

has succeeded in conveying only half of what he had at first contem- 
plated. Why is this so? Because one's ideas may easily be extraordinary 
when he is free to work in the realm of fancy, but it is very difficult 
for one to give beauty to his language when he is tied down to the 
factual details. Therefore, although the idea takes shape from spiritual 
thinking, and the language receives its form from the idea, idea, 
thought, and language may be so closely related that they are experi- 
enced as one, or they may differ as strikingly as if they were a thousand 
li from each other. A writer may go beyond the world in search of 
patterns which are there in the square inch of his heart, and sometimes 
his thought strays over mountain and river for ideas which are only a 
few inches or feet away. So be vigilant over your heart and cultivate 
the intuitive method; there is little need of onerous mental effort, for 
one who is endowed with natural excellence balanced as a harmonious 
whole has no need to strain himself. 

Individuals vary with respect to their natural talents; some are slow 
and some are quick. And when they express themselves in literary 
forms, they also excel in many different ways. [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju 
chewed his brush to bits, Yang Hsiung had nightmares because of his 
inability to continue writing, Huang T'an fell ill because of onerous 
thinking, Wang Ch'ung exhausted his vitality in his intellectual labors, 
Chang Heng took ten years to study the capitals [for his fu], 5 and 
Tso Ssu took twelve years to collect material for the writing of his 
fu on capitals. 6 It is true that all of these men's works are of immense 
magnitude, but they are all the result of thinking which is slow and 
laborious. On the other hand, Prince Huai-nan [or Liu An] completed 
his fu on Encountering Sorrow before the morning was spent, Mei 
Kao had his piece ready as soon as he received the royal commission, 
Tzu-chien [or Ts'ao Chih] wrote poetry as easily as if he were reciting, 
Chung-hsuan [or Wang Ts'an] let his brush fly as if copying from a 

5 He wrote one fu on the western capital and one on the eastern capital. See Wen- 
hsuan, chiian 2 and 3. 

6 He has three fu on the capitals of the three kingdoms known collectively as "San- 
tu-fu": Shu, Wu, and Wei. See Wen-hsiian, chiian 4 and 5. 

Spiritual Thought or Imagination 157 

ready-made draft, Juan Yii penned a letter on the saddle, and Ni Heng 
produced memorials while at meals. These pieces, all brief and terse, 
are all works of quick thinking. 

A spirited scholar, with the essentials of the art of writing in his 
mind, is quick to meet situations with an instantaneous response even 
before he has time for consideration; while a man of profound thought, 
whose emotional reactions are complicated and who is ever aware of 
all possible alternatives, achieves light and maps plans only after 
prolonged questioning and inquiring. A man whose mechanism of 
response is quick does his work in a hurry; but it takes a long time 
for a man of deliberation to show his accomplishments. Though these 
two groups of people differ in their ways of writing, one group writing 
with ease and the other with great labor, both types must be men of 
comprehensive learning and broad experience. The mind which is only 
laborious without the support of learning resembles the empty quick- 
witted mind devoid of talent in that neither has ever been known to 
accomplish anything. There are two dangers besetting the man who 
stops to ponder while writing: if he is not clear about principles, his 
work will seem diffuse and insubstantial; but if he is prolix, his work 
will suffer from confusion. Comprehensive learning and broad ex- 
perience are the only foods that will nourish writing afflicted with 
poverty of substance, and coherence and unity are the only medicines 
which will cure confusion. To be coherent and unified as well as com- 
prehensive is also one way to reduce mental effort. 

As emotional situations vary in complexity, literary forms vary with 
them. Unpolished expressions may make brilliant ideas concrete, and 
from commonplace things may be coaxed new revelations. Compare 
the finished cloth with the hempen thread. Although the cloth is the 
same in substance as the hemp, the added processes of weaving and 
spinning have given the cloth beauty and made it precious. But the 
subtle meanings beyond our thought and the profound inner workings 
of the heart inexpressible in words are not to be reached by language; 
here one should know enough to halt his brush. Only the most subtle 

158 Spiritual Thought or Imagination 

soul understands their secret, and only the most spiritual mind compre- 
hends their number. The [master chef] I Chih was unable to tell people 
how he cooked, 7 and wheelwright Pien could not inform people how 
he wielded his ax. 8 [Great art] is infinitely subtle. 

The Tsan: 
Under the operation of the spirit the phenomenal world becomes 

But does so responsive to varying emotional situations. 
Things are apprehended by means of their appearances, 
And the mind responds by the application of reason. 
It carves and engraves in accordance with sound patterns, 
Forging metaphors and allegories as it goes. 
It gathers together all its ideas and works them into harmony, 
And [like General Chang Liang] wins victory afar while sitting in its 

tent. 9 

XXVII. Style and Nature (T'i-hsing) 

When the emotions are moved, they express themselves in words; and 
when reason is born, it emerges in a pattern. For we start with the 
imperceptible and follow through to the revealed, and on the basis 
of inner realities seek external realities in harmony with them. How- 
ever, people differ in talent, in physical vitality, in scholarship, and in 
manner: in talent some are mediocre and some brilliant; in physical 

7 Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed., Shanghai, 1935), chiian 14, pp. 140-41. 
"I Chih" is another name for I Yin, who, in answer to T'ang's question, says, ". . . The 
changes which take place in a cauldron are subtle and delicate, neither expressible in 
words by the mouth nor conceivable by the mind." 

8 See note 3 above. 

9 It was said of Chang Liang of the Han that, although remaining in his army tent 
when he mapped out his campaign strategy, he won victories one thousand It away. See 
his biography in the Han-shu. The parallel position of the mind or the spirit is hinted 
at here. 

Style and Nature 159 

vitality some are strong and some weak; in scholarship some are super- 
ficial and some profound; in manner some are graceful and some 
vulgar. All these are partly the outcome of temperament and nature, 
and partly the result of a process of training. For this reason, we find 
in the domain of the brush forest various grotesque forms taking shape 
like rolling clouds; and in the garden of literature different activities 
burgeon forth as waves surge upon waves. Thus, in the use of lan- 
guage and in the grasp of content, a man is destined to be either 
mediocre or brilliant, and no one can make him what is contrary to 
his talent; in temper and disposition, he is destined to be either vital 
or spiritless, and no one can change the degree of his physical vitality; 
in his reactions to things and grasp of meanings, he is destined to be 
either superficial or profound, and no one has ever heard of achieve- 
ment out of proportion to a man's scholarship; and in style and form, 
he is destined to be either graceful or vulgar, and few can be what 
is contrary to their training. Each follows the way he cherishes in his 
heart, and people's hearts differ as much as their faces. All in all, we 
may enumerate eight different styles: first, elegant and graceful, or in 
the style of tien and ya; 1 second, far-ranging and profound; third, 
polished and concise; fourth, lucid and logical; fifth, profuse and 
flowery; sixth, vigorous and beautiful; seventh, fresh and extraordinary; 
and eighth, light and trivial. 

The style which is defined as elegant and graceful models itself 
after the classical forms and adopts the Confucian principles; the far- 
ranging and profound couches its content in cryptic phrases and obscure 
expressions, treating of truths deep-seated in the nature of things; the 
polished and concise has mastered the problems of diction and sen- 
tence structure, analyzing them down to the minutest details; the lucid 
and logical employs straightforward language to express clear ideas 
with reasoning so pertinent that it satisfies our minds; the profuse and 
flowery indulges in creating beautiful patterns through a wealth of 
metaphors, aiming at brightening and illuminating all branches and 

1 That is, the style of the Boo\ of History and the Book, of Poetry. 

160 Style and Nature 

ramifications of its subject; the vigorous and beautiful distinguishes 
itself by eloquent discourse and grand composition glowing with 
remarkable colors; the fresh and extraordinary shuns the hackneyed 
and competes for success in the vogue of the moment, devoting itself 
to the unconsidered, the biased, the diverting and the strange; and the 
light and trivial is characterized by its frivolous language weakly or- 
ganized, following the lead of the vulgar, without any strength of 
its own. As we see, the graceful contrasts with the extraordinary, the 
profound differs from the lucid, the profuse conflicts with the concise, 
and the vigorous clashes with the light. When we understand these 
styles, we can make the plant of literary composition grow, roots, leaves, 
and all, in the garden of literature. 

Since the eight styles are constantly interchanged, 2 success depends 
on scholarship. Talent resides within, and is born of the physical 
vitality of the blood. This physical [and hence temperamental] vitality 
gives substance to our feeling and ideas, and these determine the form 
language will take. The beauty one imparts to his language depends, 
therefore, entirely on his temperament and nature. The sharp and 
quick-witted Chia I produced literary pieces with a clean and pure 
style; Ch'ang-ch'ing [or Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju], proud and eccentric, over- 
burdened his works with exaggerated reasoning and excessive wordi- 
ness; the writings of Tzu-yiin [or Yang Hsiung] are abstruse, al- 
though giving the reader a taste which lingers, because of his retiring 
and reticent nature; Tzu-cheng [or Liu Hsiang] was clear in his ideas 
and exhaustive in his treatments of facts, because he was unassuming 
and simple; Meng-chien [or Pan Ku], a man of grace and excellence, 
was careful in composition and resourceful in thought; P'ing-tzu [or 
Chang Heng], widely learned, was thorough in investigation, and well- 
organized as well as colorful in expression; Chung-hsiian [or Wang 
Ts'an], hasty and spirited, exhibited outstanding works, indicating 
a fruitful talent; Kung-kan [or Liu Chen], narrow-minded and biased, 

2 This seems to refer to the possible changing from one style to another by an 

Style and Nature 161 

used strong language and showed startling emotion; as to Ssu-tsung 
[or Juan Chi], who was easy and free, he sang in the spirit of a recluse 
a tune wafted into the distance; Shu-ya [or Hsi K'ang], romantic and 
gallant, gave us high spirit and bright colors; An-jen [or P'an Yueh], 
light and swift, was poignant in his remarks but rhythmic in prosody; 
and Shih-heng [or Lu Chi], reverent and decorous, couched his [more] 
exuberant feelings in obscure expressions. From these examples, we 
draw the clear inference that the outer and the inner realities always 
correspond. Is this not the general principle which we constantly find 
exemplified in nature as well as in the realm of talent and vitality? 

Talent is bestowed by heaven, but in learning one must be very 
careful in choosing the first step in the course of his training. It is like 
carving or dyeing, in which the success depends on the first step of 
the process. When a vessel has been made, or a color printed, it is 
difficult to change. So when a child learns how to carve, he should 
first learn the graceful way. From mastery of this root he may proceed 
to acquire the leaves; and in this way his thought will be perfectly 
comprehensive in itself. Although the eight styles are all different, there 
is a common denominator, and once this denominator is understood, 
the writer will have in his grasp the center of the circle, and all radii 
will meet at this center like spokes gathering at a hub. So it is im- 
portant that a man imitate one certain style to initiate his training 
process and continue to develop his talent in a way which conforms 
to his nature. This is the principle to be used as a guide in literary 

The Tsan: 
There is a great variety of talents and natures, and a great variety of 

literary styles. 
Verbal expressions are the musculature and integument, 
But feelings and ideas are the bone and marrow. 
There are forms which are graceful and beautiful like silk broideries; 

162 Style and Nature 

And there are forms which are the result of laborious artifice, but 

[only succeed in turning the vermilion into the vulgar] purple. 3 
By training a writer may achieve a result as true as [nature itself], 
And this kind of beauty is reached by a gradual process of labor. 

XXVIII. The Wind and the Bone (Teng-\u) 

The Boo\ of Poetry contains six elements, and of these feng, or wind, 
stands at the head of the list. It is the source of transformation, and 
the correlate of emotion and vitality. He who would express mournful 
emotions must begin with the wind, and to organize his linguistic 
elements he must above all emphasize the bone. Literary expressions 
are conditioned by the bone in much the same way as the standing 
posture of a body is conditioned by its skeleton; feeling gives form to 
the wind very much as a physical form envelops the vitality which 
animates it. When expressions are organized on the right principles, 
literary bone is there; and when the emotion and vitality embodied 
are swift and free, there we find the purity of the literary wind. If a 
literary piece has nothing but rich and brilliant colors, without wind 
and bone to keep it air-borne, then one shaking is enough to destroy 
its splendor, lacking as it does the vigor which can justify fame. There- 
fore, a condition for organizing one's thought and planning one's 
composition is to develop to the full one's vitality; for when one is 
strong and whole, he will shine with fresh brilliance. The concept here 
applied to literary composition is enriched by comparison with our 
observation of the use of wings by a bird of prey. He whose bone 
structure is well exercised will always be versed in rhetoric; and he 
who is deep of wind will always be articulate in expressing his feel- 
ings. To be firm and exact in diction, and in resonance sure without 

3 See note 19, Chapter IV. 

The Wind and the Bone 163 

being heavy: this is what is meant by vigor of wind and bone. Now 
to be thin in ideas and fat in words, or confused and disorganized, 
without unity, are sure signs of lack of this kind of bone. And when 
ideas are incomplete and incomprehensive, lifeless and without vitality, 
it is an evidence of the absence of the wind. Long ago, when P'an Hsu 
wrote his edict conferring the nine honors on Prince Wei, 1 he pat- 
terned his thought after the Classics. All other talents, on seeing his 
work, hid their brushes, because his had this vigor of bone and marrow. 
The fu on the immortals by [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju 2 exhibited a vitality 
which soared to the clouds. He was proclaimed poet laureate because 
his work possessed such powerful strength of wind. If one has the 
ability to see the essentials illustrated in these cases, he may be able to 
succeed in his literary pursuits. But no amount of embellishment will 
do him any good, if he fails to follow these essential principles. 

It was for this reason that Wei-wen [or Ts'ao P'ei] said, "Vitality is 
the main factor in writing. The substance of this vitality is either 
clear or turbid, and its states cannot be achieved by effort." 3 In dealing 
with K'ung Yung, he said, "The substance of his vitality is lofty and 
exquisite"; in the case of Hsu Kan, he said, "Occasionally Hsu exhibits 
the [rather low] vitality which is known to characterize the district of 
Ch'i"; 4 and in the case of Liu Chen, he said, "He possesses transcendent 
vitality." Kung Kan [or Liu Chen] also remarked, "Master K'ung's 
style is lofty and stately, definitely possessing extraordinary vitality, a 
vitality not expressible in brush and ink." 5 These writers laid a common 
emphasis on vitality. 

A pheasant, with all its colorful feathers, is limited in its scope of 
flight to a hundred paces, because it is fat-fleshed and has little or no 

1 See note 22, Chapter XIX. 

2 Referring to his "Ta-jen fu," which was presented to the emperor. The emperor 
was so enthralled that he felt he was floating upon clouds, making an excursion through 
the universe. See Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju's biography in the Han-shu. 

3 This and the following statements are found in Wei-wen's "Essay on Literature." 
See Wen-hsiian, chiian 52. 

4 Li Shang, the commentator of Wen-hsiian, said that the district of Ch'i was known 
for a slow style in writing. Ibid., chiian 52. 

5 Kung Kan's essay is lost. 

164 The Wind and the Bone 

vigor. An eagle may not have beautiful plumage patterns, but its wings 
carry it high in the sky, because of its strong bone structure and 
mighty vitality. Strength of literary talent is comparable to these cases. 
If we had the wind and the bone without colors, we would have a 
group of eagles in the forest of literature; but if we had colors without 
the wind and the bone, we would have a crowd of pheasants jumping 
about in a garden of letters. Only when a literary piece has both beau- 
tiful colors and the ability to soar high do we have a singing phoenix 
in the world of literature. 

When a writer casts and molds his works after the patterns of the 
Classics, soars and alights in the manner in which philosophers and 
historians have soared and alighted, 6 and is equipped with a profound 
knowledge of the ever-changing emotions and the ability to display 
with a delicate touch styles suitable to them, he will be able to conceive 
new ideas and carve extraordinary expressions. For the writer who 
knows what style is fitting will be able to form new ideas without in- 
troducing confusion; and he who knows the ever-varying emotions will 
be able to adopt extraordinary expressions without ever overdoing it. 
But if before the bone and the emotional patterns are full-grown, or 
if before the wind and the rhetoric have been sufficiently cultivated, a 
writer should pass over the old rules and run after new creations, he 
would more often than not meet with failure, although he might oc- 
casionally come up with some clever ideas. For a piece which is con- 
structed of mere extraordinary phrases is a mistake, and how can one 
consider it a constant principle? The Boo\ of Chou says, "In writing 
one should emphasize the essential and should not indulge in the ex- 
traordinary." 7 The purpose of this statement is to prevent excessive 
literary embellishment. But the art of writing has many avenues, and 
each scholar may choose what delights him. However, because those 
who know do not instruct and those who really study have no teachers, 8 

6 Philosophical works and histories have always been held as examples of good 
literary style. See Chapters XVI and XVII above. 

7 See note 19, Chapter II. 

8 The art of writing is to be grasped intuitively and not discursively. 

Flexible Adaptability 165 

one may become accustomed to the flowery and pursue the excessively 
ornamental, drifting along aimlessly, forgetting to return. But if one 
will make sure that his form is correct and that he has a clear and 
vigorous style, he will possess pure wind and strong bone, and his 
whole work will gleam with brilliance. If one pays attention to these 
considerations, why should the art be beyond his reach? 

The Tsan: 
Emotion and vitality are one, 
And so are rhetoric and style. 
If one's language is clear and vigorous, 
He will be showered with the honors of a jade tablet. 
So cultivate the vigor of the wind, 
And make the bone more robust; 
When talent stands out sharply in all its ruggedness, 
It may then be clothed in colors that glow and gleam. 

XXIX. Flexible Adaptability to Varying Situations 

The genres to which literary compositions may belong are definite; an 
individual composition is permitted stylistic flexibility. How do we 
know this is so? Because in the case of genres, like shih, or poetry; fu, 
or poetic narrative; shu, or epistolary writing; and chi, or memoir, 
their names and content correspond; therefore, they are definite. But 
as for literary expressions and vital force, they must adapt themselves 
to varying situations in order to endure; therefore, they are flexible. 
The genres, because of the definite correspondence between their names 
and content, have to base themselves on established principles; but 
because the style must maintain its flexible adaptability to varying situ- 
ations, its very essence is its sensitivity to new modes and cadences. 

1 66 Flexible Adaptability 


Only by observing this truth can a writer gallop on a road that does 

not end in an impasse, or drink out of a spring which is inexhaustible. 
When one has to endure his thirst because the well rope is too short, 
or give up the road because his legs are tired, it is not because he has 
exhausted the applicability of literary principles, but because he is inex- 
perienced in the art of flexible adaptability. Literature may be looked at 


as very much like grasses and plants : their roots and trunks, which are 
attached to the soil, are all of the same nature; their smells and tastes, 
which are exposed to the sun, differ from individual to individual. 1 

In the lyrics and songs of the nine dynasties, 2 we find that feeling 
tone and literary pattern agree with each other in each one. The "Tuan- 
chu" of the period of the Yellow Emperor is an example of emphasis 
on extreme simplicity; 3 the "Tsai-hsi" 4 of the T'ang then developed 
beyond it. The "Ch'ing-yiin" of the Yii is more richly embellished than 
that of the T'ang, and the "Tiao-ch'iang" of the Hsia is even more 
lavishly ornamented than that of the Yii. When we come to the Shang 
and the Chou, we find their poetry vastly more beautiful than that of 
the Hsia. But they all agree in being the expressions of genuine feel- 
ing and the narratives of their times. During the Ch'u period, sao was 
produced on the pattern of the Chou poems; and the fu and sung of 
Han times reflect the forms of the Ch'u songs. Wei's poetic composition 
defers to the style of the Han in a spirit of admiration, and Chin's 
literary writings pattern themselves after the colorful works of the 
Wei. A careful analysis will show that the literary productions during 

1 Attachment to the soil refers to the definite correspondence between the name and 
content of a genre, and the exposure to the sun refers to adaptability to varying situations. 

2 Two lists of dynasties follow. The first list contains: Yellow Emperor period, T'ang, 
Yii, Hsia, Shang, Chou, Ch'u, Han, Wei, and Chin, ten in all. The second list contains, 
in addition to these, Sung — a total of eleven. As Liu Hsieh's work was completed in 
Ch'i, the dynasty which followed the Sung, the latter should be included. It seems that 
the period of the Yellow Emperor and that of Ch'u should both be eliminated: the 
Yellow Emperor period, because it was a predynastic time, and Ch'u, because it was a 
part of the Chou. Without these, we have altogether nine dynasties. 

3 "Tuan-chu," a folk song, consists of four two-word lines, of which the meaning is 
not clear. It runs: "Bamboo broken; Bamboo continued; Dust flying; Chasing meat." 
The song is recorded in the Wu-yiieh ch'un-ch'iu, by Chao Yeh of the Han dynasty. 

4 Not identifiable. 

Flexible Adaptability 167 

the times of the Yellow Emperor and the T'ang are pure and simple; 
during the Yu and Hsia, simple and rational; during the Shang and 
Chou, beautiful and graceful; during the Ch'u and Han, exaggerated 
and alluringly charming; in the times of the Wei and Chin, superficial 
and ornamental; and at the beginning of the Sung, pretentious and 
novelty-ridden. Declining from the simple to the pretentious, literary 
taste becomes thinner and thinner as it approaches our own time. The 
reason for this is found in the fact that a rivalry in producing something 
new, to the neglect of the ancient values, has lulled the wind and sapped 
vitality. At present, most of the outstanding talented scholars who 
devote themselves to literature overlook the Han pieces and emulate 
the examples of the Sung period. Even if they have read all the 
standard literary works both ancient and modern, they seem to attach 
themselves to the recent and avoid the remote. But the color blue is 
prepared from indigo and the color red is prepared from madder. And 
although blue and red are better colors than their sources, they are 
incapable of further change. Huan Chiin-shan [or Huan T'an] said, 
"As I read the much ornamented works of recent writers I feel that 
they may be beautiful, but I attach no weight to them. But when I 
read works by Liu [Hsin] 5 and Yang [Hsiung], I often profit by 
them." This is an example in point. If one wishes to refine upon the 
blue and purify the red, one must return to the indigo and the madder 
and begin there; just so, to correct pretentiousness and cure super- 
ficiality, a writer must come back to the Classics and begin there. Only 
when a writer is able to strike a middle road between the demands of 
substance and of form, and to follow the right principles when con- 
fronted with a choice between a graceful and a vulgar expression, is he 
a man with whom we can discuss the problem of flexible adaptability. 
At the beginning of the Han dynasty, there was already strenuous 
effort to perfect the descriptions of the sounds and outward appearances 
of nature. Later writers pursued this tendency. Although occasionally 
they soared beyond the old course, they invariably came to rest in the 

5 Liu Hsiang's son, a great bibliophile of the Han dynasty. He died in A.D. 23. 

168 Flexible Adaptability 

cage of the traditional. Mei Sheng in his "Ch'i-fa" wrote, "As I look over 
the Eastern Sea, I see unrolled before me the vast space merging with 
the blue sky." Then [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju wrote in his "Shang-lin fu," 
"As I look at [the plain], there is no beginning to it; and when I 
investigate it, there is no edge to it: the sun rises from its eastern pool 
and the moon emerges on its western slope." 6 Ma Yung 7 wrote in his 
"Kuang-ch'eng sung," "Heaven and earth merge into one; there is 
no beginning and no edge; from the east rises the great luminary [the 
sun], and on the western slope is born the moon." 8 Yang Hsiung wrote 
in his "Chiao-lieh," 9 "Here rise and set the sun and moon, and heaven 
and earth meet." And finally Chang Heng wrote in his "Hsi-ching fu," 
"Just here the sun and moon rise and set, the symbols of ju-san and 
meng-ssu." 10 These five writers, in their several attempts to describe 
what is vast and unbounded, seem to breathe one spirit. There are 
many such examples; the writers always try to emulate one another. 
And to know which elements to preserve and which to change, in a 
complicated situation, is to possess flexible adaptability. 

Therefore, in laying down principles governing literary traditions, 
one must have a broad view of the literary forms. He should first 
broaden his experience in order to deepen his perception, and acquire 
a synthetic outlook which creates harmony among all the literary 
precepts; then he may open up new vistas and create pivotal points of 
his own. [These accomplishments won], he will be in a position to keep 
his art under harness, controlling it as if from a distance, and progress 
at his leisure; [these accomplishments won], he will be able to achieve 
an artistic harmony perfectly in accord with his temperament and sus- 
tain his vitality, adapting it to varying situations. To his work will 

6 The line here differs from the original, which says: ". . . the moon sets down the 
western slope." This is a description of the vastness of the plain on which the author's 
eyes feast. 

7 A great Han commentator of the Classics (79-166). 

8 A description of the vastness of the universe. 

9 The original title is "Yii-lieh fu." 

10 A description of the vastness of the universe. Fu-san is the mythical tree the top of 
which the sun first touches in its course from the eastern sky; and meng-ssu, the mythical 
pool into which it sets. 

On Choice of Style 169 

belong the colors of the curving ridge of a rainbow or the splendor 
of the spreading wings of a red bird. 11 Writings of this quality will be, 
without exception, outstanding. But a writer who confines himself to a 
narrow conception of his art and feels proud of his one limited achieve- 
ment will be good for nothing but to toddle in a circle in a court; how 
could such a man be expected to gallop over ten thousand li? 

The Tsan: 

It is the law of literature both to move along and to come to full circle; 

The merit of literature renews itself from day to day. 

If it changes, it will endure; 

If it adapts itself to the changing tide, it will lack nothing. 

Success will be his who follows the changing times, 

And he will have no need of fear if he can take advantage of his op- 

With an eye on present circumstances, create what is extraordinary, 

And establish laws by reference to ancient practice. 

XXX. On Choice of Style 1 

One's emotion has a number of different moods, and each must be 
expressed in a particular literary style. All writers choose the genres 2 
which accord with their emotional moods, and adopt the styles proper 

11 For the curving ridge for a rainbow, see Chang Heng's "Hsi-ching fu," and for the 
red bird, see his "Ssu-shiin fu." Both are found in the Wen-shiian, chiian 2 and 16 

1 The term shih, which is here rendered as "style," means situation or condition, as 
in the phrase ti-shih, the topographical condition or strategic situation of a place. It also 
means bent or tendency, as in the phrase shan-shih, the contour or tendency of a 
mountain. Figuratively it means power on account of position or situation. As used in 
this chapter, it means the tendency of a rhetorical flow, the spirit or style of a literary 

2 The term for "genre" is ft, which means body, substance, form, or genre in literary 
criticism. It is also used to mean style. This shows again that there is no consistent way of 
rendering Chinese literary terms. Their meaning has to be determined in context. 

170 On Choice of Style 

to these genres. By style is meant that rhetorical form most naturally 
suggested by a specific genre. It follows just as naturally as the straight 
course of an arrow shot from a bow, or the whirlpool at the bend of a 
rapid mountain stream. The round [heaven], because of its roundness, 
tends naturally to rotate; the square [earth], because of its squareness, 
tends naturally to remain at rest. 3 Literary genre and style likewise 
follow natural tendencies. Those who pattern their writing after the 
classical genre will achieve the excellent qualities of severe elegance 
and grace; 4 and those who pattern theirs after the sao genre will 
succeed in capturing the flowers of charm and high-mindedness. Super- 
ficial writings are as a rule shallow in style, and those which are clear-cut 
in language and logical and simple in ideas are generally devoid of 
embellishment. For it is the natural tendency [shih, or style] of rapid 
waters not to be rippled and of withered trees not to give shade. 

In painting, it is colors which present the infinite possibilities of 
form; and in literature, it is literary phraseology which attempts the 
adequate expression of emotional moods. Different mixtures of colors 
produce the forms of dogs and of horses; different emotional moods 
produce the different styles, of which some are graceful and some 
vulgar. In this art of literary casting, each piece has its one specific 
principle, and even if it has no rigidly defined scope, its limits should 
not be trespassed. However, those who would be well versed in literary 
composition must comprehend all possible styles. For although the 
eccentric and the orthodox are opposed to each other, both should be 
mastered; and although the vigorous and the delicate are different, 
each should be used at the appropriate moment. If one loves the ele- 
gantly severe and dislikes the ornate, he will be one-sided when held 
up against the standard of comprehensive mastery. We are reminded 
of the two men of Hsia, one boasting about his bow and another about 
his arrow, [not knowing that] with neither alone would it be possible 
to shoot. If a writer allows himself to include both the graceful and the 

3 The round and square are symbols of heaven and earth, respectively. 

4 The Boo\ of History is characterized by severe elegance and the Boof{ of Poetry by 

On Choice of Style 171 

vulgar in the same literary piece, he violates the principle of unity. 
This is like the man of Ch'u, who, while praising his shield [as 
impenetrable], hawked his spear [as irresistible, without realizing that] 
it would be difficult to sell both [on such recommendations]. 5 

When a writer encompasses all genres within his scope, he must 
exercise discriminating judgment. Whether the mode of \ung or the 
mode of shang Q ought to be used, or whether the color red or the color 
purple should be applied, depends upon the circumstances. 

In writing the chang, or memorial expressing thanks; piao, or me- 
morial expressing feeling; tsou, or memorial to impeach; and i, or 
memorial to discuss, 7 one should aim at elegance and grace; for the 
writing of fu, or poetic narrative; sung, or ceremonial ode; \e, or 
song; and shih, or poetry, 8 purity and beauty are the standard; in the 
case of the fu, or tally; hsi, or proclamation; shu, or epistolary writing; 
and /, or despatch, 9 correctness of style demands lucidity and clear-cut 
judgment; in the case of the shih, or historical writing; lun, or essay; 
hsu, or preface; and chu, or commentary, 10 the stylistic features worthy 
of imitation are thoroughness and pertinence; in writing the chen, or 
admonition; ming, or inscription on articles; pei, or inscription on 
monuments; and lei, or elegy, 11 one's style should be comprehensive 
and deep; and finally, in writing lien-chu, or continuous string of 
pearls, and ch'i-tz'u, or poetry in the form of "seven," 12 one should 
seek artistry and charm of style. In all these cases, one chooses a style 
in accord with a genre, adapting his style to the particular situation. 

5 For the men of Hsia with their bow and arrow, see Yu-lan, chiian 347; and for the 
man of Ch'u with his spear and shield, see Han-fei-tzu, chiian 15, Chapter 36, "Nan-i," 
p. 265. A man of Hsia said, "My bow is good, so I need no arrow." Another said, "My 
arrow is good, so I do not need a bow." The man of Ch'u was selling a shield and a 
spear. He first praised his shield: "My shield is so strong that nothing can pierce it." 
Then he praised his spear: "My spear is so sharp that it pierces anything." 

6 For the five whole-tone scale, of which k.ung and shang are two tones, see note 2, 
Chapter VII. Each of these tones may be used as a primary note, giving thus five modes. 

7 See Chapter XXII. 8 See Chapters VI, VII, VIII, and IX. 
9 See Chapters XX, XXIV, and XXV. 10 See Chapters VIII, XVI, and XVIII. 

11 See Chapters XI and XII. 

12 For lien-chu see note 4, Chapter XIV; and for ch'i-tz'u, see note 2, on ch'i-ja 
(seven shots), in the same chapter. 

172 On Choice of Style 

Although there may be an occasional blending of styles, creating a 
tapestry of diverse literary passages similar to a variegated brocade, 
such a "brocade" must of necessity have one fundamental color, the 
color of the basic fabric. 

Huan T'an once said, "Writers have each his own love. Some love 
what is apparently dazzling, not knowing the value of what is solid 
and veritable; some love a great quantity of information, blind to the 
importance of what is essential and simple." Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao Chih] 
also said, "Among contemporary writers, some love verbosity and 
erudition, keeping their meaning deep and obscure; some love to 
analyze their terms and sentence structure into clear-cut distinctions 
to the point of hairsplitting. The difference in their taste is a natural 
consequence of the difference in their training." In other words, they 
differ in their natural bents or styles. 

Liu Chen once said, "The essence of literature may be expressed 
in a variety of styles: the romantic, the realistic, the vigorous, and the 
delicate. Among all the contemporary writers there is only one of whose 
writing it may be said that even when he has said all there is to be said, 
his style is still unspent." 13 Kung-kan [or Liu Chen] here uses the 
word [shih or style] also in the sense of ch'i, or vitality or force. The 
force by which a literary piece is carried along may be either vigorous 
or weak, and used in this sense force need not necessarily mean only 
vigorous expression and heroic mood. Lu Yiin said that, before he 
heard the literary opinion of Master Chang, he himself tended in his 
literary judgments to emphasize expressions rather than feeling, and 
to pay more attention to the force [in the sense of vigor] than to the 
beauty of a style, but that after hearing Chang's view, he preferred 
to accept it. 14 The content should of course be emphasized over literary 
expression, but it is just as necessary for the style to be beautiful as 
[to be forceful]. Although [Lu Yiin] missed the truth at first, he was 
able later to follow good advice. 

13 The quotation is unidentifiable, and it is not known which writer he has in mind. 

14 Quoted from Lu Yun's letter to his elder brother Lu Chi, the author of the 
Wen-ju. Chang is not identifiable. 

On Choice of Style 173 

Recent poets, in most cases, have been attracted by sophistry and 
artistry. A study of their style reveals that it is the consequence of a 
tendency toward pretentiousness. 15 Bored by the old, they defy all 
reason in the creation of new forms. This pretentious style, although 
apparently difficult, is in fact nothing other than a confounding of 
normal word order. Confounding the normal order in an essay may 
result in impoverishment of content, but reversing the word order in 
a sentence introduces novelty. The way to achieve this element of 
surprise is to reverse the order of words in a sentence, to suppress the 
second element of a correlative term, and to place what is normally 
found in the middle of a sentence outside that sentence. New patterns 
are obtained by departing from the normal way, reversing the order 
and changing the positions of words. 

Many people, despite the fact that highways level and well-paved 
exist, take to short cuts, because by these short cuts they can reach 
their goals sooner. Many writers, although they know that essays as 
normally written are simple and clear, often indulge in the abnormal, 
because they are catering to the taste of the vulgar. But those who have 
profound understanding achieve artistry by new conceptions and ideas; 
and not only do those whose desire is merely to be different lose their 
hold on the genre, but also their works become specimens of eccentricity. 
A well-trained talent holds on to the norm by which to harness the 
element of surprise; but a novice, whose courage is born of inexperi- 
ence, rushes after the odd, and so loses touch with the norm. When 
this tendency is allowed to go on unchecked and unreversed, literary 
style begins to decline. For one who is concerned with the art of ex- 
pression, no pains should be spared to think the whole thing through. 

The Tsan: 
When a thing takes form, its style is also defined. 
The beginning and the end agree in perfect accord. 
A rapid whirl spins as a compass does, 

15 This tendency toward pretentiousness was in vogue at the beginning of the Sung 
period. See Chapter XXIX for literary trends during various periods. 

174 ® n Choice of Style 

And an arrow travels in a straight line. 

When galloping a charger, 16 follow its natural tendency. 

Emotional moods and their literary expressions will blend in perfect 

But if one goes out of his way to imitate the steps of others, 
His efforts will have the same reward as those of Shou-ling. 17 

XXXI. Emotion and Literary Expression 

The literary writings of the sages and worthy men are summed up 
under the phrase wen-change or literary pattern. What is this, if it is 
not literary decorativeness ? 

Water by nature is plastic, 1 allowing the formation of ripples; and 
it is of the essential nature of trees to be solid, supporting flowers on 
their calyxes. The ornamental pattern of a thing is of necessity condi- 
tioned by its essential nature. On the other hand, tigers and leopards, 
deprived of their patterns, would have the same kind of hide as dogs 
and sheep; and rhinoceros skins require red varnish [when they are 
made into armor]. The essential nature of a thing also depends on its 
ornamental patterns. 

For the depiction of our inner spirits, or the description of physical 
objects, the contents of the mind are inscribed in "the markings of 
birds" 2 [that is, in writing] and in the literary expressions woven on 

16 "A charger" refers figuratively to a genre, the natural tendency of which is the 
proper style. 

17 Chuangtzu, 45/17/79: "Have you not heard of Shou-ling yii-tzu's efforts to imitate 
the steps of others at Han-tan? Not only did he fail to learn the [dance] steps of the 
master, he also lost his native ability to walk. He had to crawl all the way home." 

1 The original term is hsii, meaning empty. The reason for rendering it as "plastic" 
is that it is matched by the term shift, meaning solid, in the next line. Furthermore, the 
term empty does not seem to express the right idea. Liu Hsieh seems to be trying to show 
the flexibility of water, by which it may produce ripples. This flexibility I try to express 
by the term plastic. 

2 See note 15, Chapter I. 

Emotion and Literary Expression 175 

"fish nets" [that is, paper]. 3 Brilliance achieved in this way we call 
literary decorativeness. Three main patterns are involved in the crea- 
tion of literature: the color pattern, made up of the five colors; 4 the 
sound pattern, made up of the five sounds; 5 and the emotional pattern, 
made up of the five emotions. 6 It is the mixing of the five basic colors 
which produces elegant embroidery; it is the harmonizing of the five 
basic sounds which creates the ancient music, such as the piece "Shao- 
hsia"; 7 and it is the expression of the five emotions which gives us the 
essence of literature. All these processes are natural results of the opera- 
tion of Divine Reason. 

In the Boo\ of Filial Piety a classical example illustrates the dictum 
that during the mourning period one's words ought not to be adorned; 
from this we may infer that during normal times the words of a man 
of virtue are not without adornment. 8 It is because Laotzu hates 
hypocrisy that he says, "Beautiful words are not trustworthy," 9 al- 
though his own "five thousand words" 10 are refined and wonderful; 
he never sacrifices beauty. Chuang Chou speaks of "eloquence carving 
likenesses of the ten thousand things." This apparently refers to literary 
decorativeness. 11 And Han Fei speaks of "enchanting appeal in argu- 
ment and discussion," meaning embroidered beauty. 12 But to achieve 
a merely embroidered beauty by grafting enchanting appeal upon 
one's argument, and to effect mere literary decorativeness by the 
image-carving of eloquence are examples of an extreme decline 13 in 
literary tendency. A careful study of the Boo\ of Filial Piety and the 

3 Paper was first manufactured of bark, hemp, rags, and fish nets by Ts'ai Lun in 
A.D. 105. 

4 Five colors: green, yellow, red, white, and black. See "I-chi" in the Boo\ of History, 
Ts'ai Shen's commentary. 

5 Five sounds: see note 2, Chapter VII. 

6 Five emotions: joy, anger, sadness, pleasure, and resentment. 

7 See note 19, Chapter VII. 8 See "San-ch'ing" in the Boo\ of Filial Piety. 

9 See Laotzu, Chapter 81. 10 Laotzu contains roughly five thousand words. 

11 Chuangtzu yin-te, 34/13/21. 

12 Han-jei-tzu, chiian 11, Chapter 32, "Wai-ch'u shuo," tso, shang, p. 204. 

13 The term is pien or change. As used here, it definitely implies "decline," the sense 
in which it is used in connection with the pien-jeng and pien-ya, the lyrics which have 
declined in moral tone. 

176 Emotion and Literary Expression 

Laotzu shows us that both their rhetoric and content are conditioned 
by inner feeling and emotion, while a study of the Chuangtzu and 
Han-fei-tzu reveals to us that they indulged in language far more 
flowery than necessary to express the facts. 14 If we choose carefully 
between the sources of the Ching River and the Wei; 15 and if we rein 
ourselves in before we decide between the right and the wrong course, 
we shall be able to harness literary decorativeness properly for our use. 
Cosmetics are used to beautify the complexion, but the enchanting appeal 
in the look is born of natural beauty; similarly the function of literary 
decorativeness is to adorn discourse, and beauty of eloquence is based 
on real emotion. Therefore, emotion is the warp of literary pattern, 
linguistic form the woof of ideas. Only when the warp is straight 
can the woof be rightly formed, and only when ideas are definite can 
linguistic form be meaningful. This is the fundamental principle in 
literary creation. 

The Ancient Poets, in writing their poems, built their literary 
forms on emotion, while later poets, in writing their fu and sung, 
created emotion to fit literary forms. How do we know this is so? 
Because the rise of the feng and ya was due to the fact that the Ancient 
Poets, full of real emotions and opinions, sang of these emotions and 
opinions in satirical remonstrances against their superiors: this is 
what is meant by building literary forms on emotion. The philosophers, 
on the contrary, felt no real frustration, but indulged in exaggerated 
ornamentation merely for the sake of winning fame and fishing for 
worldly glory : this is what is meant by creating emotion to fit a literary 
form. A literary piece will be pertinent, simple, and realistic, if it is 
based on feeling; but if it aims merely at literary achievement, though 
it may have deceptively alluring charm, it will be prolix and diffuse. 

14 This may seem to mean that both Chuangtzu and Han Fei should be criticized for 
their emphasis on literary adornment. As a matter of fact, literary adornment is exactly 
what the two philosophers were trying to censure. Liu Hsieh quotes the expressions out 
of context, creating thus a wrong impression in the mind of the reader. Liu's criticism 
of these philosophers is rather based on their writings as a whole than on these lines. 

15 Rivers Ching and Wei come to form one body in Shensi. The Ching is muddy, 
while the Wei is clear; hence to distinguish between the Ching and the Wei means to 
distinguish between what is pure and what is muddy. 

Emotion and Literary Expression 177 

Later writers take to the diffuse and neglect the genuine, and forsake 
the style of the feng and ya for that of the tz'u and fu. 1Q Works which 
are based on genuine feeling become more scarce every day, while 
those which aim at merely literary achievement become more and more 
abundant. People whose minds are completely dominated by worldly 
ambition 17 sing vaguely of the blissful state of retirement, while people 
whose hearts are wholly entangled in the business of the day purpose- 
lessly paint a life beyond this workaday world. These people have lost 
their souls, and live lives of contradiction. Peach and plum trees do not 
speak, and yet paths are formed beneath them; 18 even an orchid will 
not be fragrant 19 if it has been planted by a male, for he would lack 
true inner feeling. When even in the case of such insignificant things 
as these plants, the inner feeling involved and the fruit borne are of 
prime importance, how much more should this be the case with 
literary writing, whose main purpose is to express the inner feeling! 
If words contradict the inner feeling, how can we look to the literary 
expressions for truth? 

We put sentences together to form beautiful patterns for the purpose 
of making our ideas clear. If the patterns become too florid and the 
rhetoric too eccentric, our ideas will be rendered vaguer than ever. 
We know very well that to fish with fancy kingfisher-feather line and 

16 Referring to the poetry of the state of Ch'u and the Han dynasty. 

17 This line can be rendered as "whose mind is completely dominated by a desire to 
seek carriage and cap," both symbols of officialdom. 

18 A paraphrase of a line in the tsan to the biography of Li Kuang, in the Shih-chi. 
The implied meaning: If you have anything real to offer, like the peach and plum trees, 
though you do not speak, people will gather about you, just as people come to the trees, 
forming paths under them. Ralph Waldo Emerson seems to be expressing the same 
thought when he writes: "If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs to sell, 
or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs than anybody else, you 
will find a broad, hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods" (Journals, 
ed. by Edward Waldo Emerson and Waldo Emerson Forbes [1912], VIII, 528). A 
better-known and frequently quoted variant is believed to have been first used by 
Emerson in one of a series of lectures given in California in 1871: "If a man can write a 
better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbor, 
though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door." 

19 A paraphrase of a line in the Huai-nan-tzu (Chu-tzu chi-ch'cng ed.), chiian 10, 
p. 158. Fragrance is by nature a feminine quality. 

178 Emotion and Literary Expression 

cassia bait is to lose the catch. 20 The saying, "Reason is covered up by 
flowery expressions" 21 probably means just this. "She is dressed in a 
brocade dress, over which is an unlined slipover robe": it is dislike of 
the gaudiness of the brocade dress that prompts the use of the slipover 
robe. 22 In the hexagram pi [of the Boo\ of Changes'], under "hsiang," 
the ultimate color is said to be white. 23 The important thing is to return 
to the fundamentals. 24 If a writer can work out a plan for expressing 
his ideas and formulate a basic outline for speaking his mind [then 
his ideas will be well organized and his mind will be at rest]. When 
his mind is at rest, he may then begin to formulate a sound pattern, 
and when his ideas are well ordered, he may then array them with 
literary decorativeness. In this manner, the substance will not be 
damaged by the literary adornment, and the mind will not be drowned 
in a mass of erudite information. The classic pattern will shine forth 
in vermilion and indigo, and the vulgar color scheme of blue and 
purple 25 will be supplanted. Only then may a writer be spoken of thus : 
"Carved and chiselled is his external pattern," 26 and it will be said of 
him : "He is indeed a man of virtue, whose external form perfectly bal- 
ances his inner substance." 27 

The Tsan: 
Words travel far because of their literary beauty: 
This is very fully borne out by experience. 
When the thought in the mind is well formed, 
It blooms forth in glory. 
The silk from Wu easily fades, 
And the blooms of the shun tree are beautiful to no good purpose. 28 

20 Ma Kuo-han, Yii-han shan-han chi-i shu, chiian 72. 

21 Chuangtzu yin-te, 4/2/25. 22 Mao-shih yin-te, 12/57/1. 

23 Chou-i yin-te, 15/22/shang, hsiang. Pi, the name of the hexagram, means orna- 
mental. The original line runs: "To use white as an ornament is free from misfortune." 

24 In this case, white is the fundamental color for ornament. 

25 For the connotation of purple, see note 19, Chapter IV. Like purple, blue is a 
secondary color, and hence has a similar connotation. 

26 Mao-shih yin-te, 60/238/5. 

27 A paraphrase of a line in the Analects. See Lun-yii yin-te, 10/6/18. 

28 The flowers of the shun tree, also known as chin, fade in a day. 

Casting and Cutting 179 

Flowery rhetoric, when lacking in genuine feeling, 
Soon dulls our taste. 

XXXII . Casting and Cutting, or, On Editing of Ideas 
and Rhetoric (]ung-ts'ai) 

When emotions and ideas are in order, literary patterns become ap- 
parent. The nature of the ideas expressed in a literary piece — their vigor 
or their delicacy — determines the choice of a fundamental form for a 
piece; and the flexible adaptability to changing situations enables one 
to meet the varying needs of different times. In establishing funda- 
mental form, there are definite genres to choose from, although one 
may err through personal bias. But there is no definite formula for 
meeting the needs of the time; hence rhetoric often suffers from ver- 
bosity and confusion. The important task for a writer, then, is to cast 
and to cut, that is, on the one hand to give form to his emotions and 
ideas, and on the other to polish his rhetoric. For jung, or casting, 
means to give form to fundamentals, and ts'ai, or cutting, means to 
shear away or delete superfluous words. The operation of cutting will 
prevent the growth of verbal weeds, and the process of casting will 
bring into relief the immanent logical order. The results may be com- 
pared to the clearly marked distinctions of a carpenter's line, and the 
relief cut out with the blade of an ax. A double toe or finger is a 
superfluous part one is born with, and a tumor or goiter is a super- 
fluous part acquired by one's body. In literature repetition of an idea 
is an intellectual poly dactyl; and the redundance of a phrase or sen- 
tence constitutes a tumor of the rhetoric. 

During the first moments of our thinking, we are often vexed with 
a welter of linguistic choices. Lack of a standard in our minds will 
certainly lead to a misplacing of emphasis. For this reason, we establish 

180 Casting and Cutting 

three criteria to be considered when a literary piece is contemplated: 
a good beginning, consisting in choosing the correct genre as the ap- 
propriate medium for expressing the inner feeling; as the next proper 
step, the collection of material which is relevant to the theme; and as 
the final step, the creation of linguistic patterns forceful enough to 
raise the important points into relief. And then one may attend to the 
floral embellishment and the arrangement of facts to be treated; or he 
may decide what new passages to add or sentences to delete. Strict 
application of literary principles and selective "carving" of material 
with intrinsic excellence will naturally result in unity, coherence, and 
order. If a writer fails to master these criteria and allows his mind to 
go wherever rhetoric leads it, he will be overwhelmed by mistakes and 
burdened with literary double toes and tumors. 

Now that we have established the three criteria, we may begin to 
consider the choice of words, or forming of sentences. If there is any 
sentence that can be deleted, we know the writing is loose. And when 
not a word can be removed, we know the writing is well-knit. Essential 
ideas and important statements give us a short, pithy form, and 
winding thought and running rhetoric are always lengthy and dis- 
cursive. The choice of whether to be discursive or pithy depends on 
the writer's taste. One may elaborate two sentences into one chapter, 
or he may condense a chapter into two sentences. A resourceful thinker 
is usually a good elaborator, and a logical talent is usually a good con- 
denser. A good condenser deletes words while he preserves the ideas, 
and a good elaborator uses a number of different expressions to make 
the ideas clear. If the clarity of the ideas suffers because of the reduc- 
tion, the result will be poverty of ideas instead of logic; and if linguistic 
redundance results from the rhetorical embellishment, the result will 
be weedy and vague instead of resourceful. 

Chang Chun 1 once said of Hsieh Ai and Wang Chi, both literary 
scholars of Hsi-ho, 2 "Ai's writing is lengthy, but no part of it can be 
deleted; while Chi's is short, but nothing can be added to it." These two 

1 See his biography in the Chin-shu. 2 In present Shansi. 

Casting and Cutting 181 

may be called experts in the art of casting and cutting; they had a thor- 
ough understanding of the discursive and pithy forms. 

Shih-heng [or Lu Chi] was talented, but he was long-winded in his 
rhetoric; his brother Shih-lung [or Lu Yiin] was slow in thought, but 
he loved purity and brevity. Yiin, in evaluating Chi's work, often criti- 
cized his discursiveness, but he did not consider it a fault because of 
the freshness of his thought. This attitude is, in fact, the result of 
brotherly consideration. 

When a dress is to be made, even though the material may be a 
beautifully embroidered silk, there are still measurements to follow. 
A tailor will not, because of the beautiful pattern of a material, throw 
into disorder the relative position of collar and sleeves. If it is difficult 
for a writer who is clever to succeed in a style which is lengthy and 
discursive, how much more difficult would it be for a clumsy writer? 
Of course, in the Wen-fu [Lu Chi] says, "Even thorns and brushwood, 
when allowed to flourish, [will share the reflected glory of the beau- 
tiful birds which gather there]" or "strike up vulgar notes to complete 
a tune." 3 It is not that his understanding is not penetrating, but that he 
is unwilling to cut the lengthy short. 

The hundred segments form one body, and all depend on the spirit 
for their being; and not a single one of all the various items in literary 
composition can be divorced from rhetorical expression on the one 
hand and the writer's feeling on the other. Without casting and cutting, 
it would never be possible to be rich in opinions and emotions without 
being too lengthy, or to employ beautiful language without committing 

The Tsan: 
A literary composition has its doors and windows, 
Whose positions express the architectural balance of the piece. 
Language flows like a stream, 
And will overflow its banks if it runs too full. 
Weighing what to cut and what to add, 

8 See note 13, "Preface." 

1 82 Casting and Cutting 

Considering what to enrich and what to thin, 

Cutting short the lengthy and shearing away the weedy, 

This is the way to avoid tedious burden. 

XXXIII. Musicalness 

The origin of music is found in the human voice, inherent in which 
is the scale of \ung and shang. 1 Musical quality of the human voice 
is inherent in man's very heart blood and physical vitality. On this 
basis, early kings created music and song. So we know that musical 
instruments depict the human voice : the human voice does not imitate 
the sounds of the instruments. Language may be the crux of literary 
writing and the key to the divine intelligence [imagination], but the 
musicalness of the voice is the result of the movements of the lips and 
mouth only. 

In antiquity, instruction in singing was preceded by a study of 
musical laws, according to which quick notes were to accord with 
\ung and slow ones with chih. 2 Kung and shang are high notes, while 
chih and yii are low notes. 3 From the difference in the movement of the 
throat, tongue, lips, and teeth, it is possible to distinguish the different 
tonal qualities clearly. 

When one detects a discordant note while playing a lute, he is aware 

1 Two of the five notes, the others being chiieh, chih, and yii. Kung is C; shang, D; 
chueh, E; chih, G; and yii, A. The use of two notes to stand for the whole scale is a 

2 See Han-jei-tzu, chiian 13, Chapter 34, "Wai-ch'u-shuo," yu, shang, p. 245. 

3 The original reading: "Shang and chih are high notes, while kiing and yii are low 
notes." According to Huang K'an, the line should run: "Kung and shang are high notes 
and chih and yii are low notes." See his Wen-hsin tiao-lung cha-chi (Peiping, 1934), 
p. 64. However, interpreting Kung-shang to be level tones, and chueh-yii abrupt tones, 
Wang Li-k'i, who edited Le Wen Sin Tiao Long (Peking, 1951), chooses the following 
reading: "Chih and yii are high notes, and kung and shang low notes." Huang's reading 
is adopted here, because it is more reasonable to think of level tones as high notes and 
abrupt tones as low notes than the other way round. 

Music dness 183 

of it and will retune the string. But if there is any fault in a literary 
composition, the writer seldom recognizes it and makes the necessary 
corrections. The musical note is produced on strings, and yet it is 
possible to achieve harmony; but one often fails to achieve concord 
with the sounds which are born in the mind. Why? Because it is easy 
to be clever when listening to notes from an external source but diffi- 
cult to be understanding when listening to the inner voice. The reason 
for this is that, when we listen to instrumental notes, it is our hands 
which adjust the strings; but when we listen to the inner voice, we 
often confuse the sounds with other mental activities. Music may be 
governed by mathematical formulas, but these cannot be adapted for 
verbal expressions. 

Tones are of two kinds: the flying, or p'ing, literally level, and the 
sinking, or tse, literally abrupt; and consonance is also of two varieties: 
a pair of alliterated words or a pair of rhymed words. Neither an al- 
literated nor a rhymed pair can be separated in a line or in a sentence 
without doing some harm to the prosody. 4 Furthermore, a sinking 
tone, when enunciated alone, sounds abrupt, as if cut short; and a 
flying tone alone has a tendency to fly away, never to return. All these 
elements must be interwoven to produce a tightly knit harmonious 
whole. Should any one element in the concatenation go amiss, a discord 
will result. It is a type of disease which may be called a stutter in 
literary writing. 

The literary stutter results from a love of the odd. In chasing after 
the new and strange, the writer naturally embrangles his throat and 
lips. To get rid of this stuttering, he must be firm in attacking it. If 
obstructed on the left, he should try his fortune on the right; if ham- 
pered in the rear, he should seek a solution ahead. Only then will the 
tone ring like resonant jade and the language fill the ear with smooth- 
ness like that of a string of beads: the beauty or the ugliness of the 

4 Both paired alliteration and paired rhyme are considered a compound, always to be 
kept together. The Boof{ of Poetry abounds in these compounds. Ts'en-ts'i is an alliterated 
pair and yao-tiao a rhymed pair. See poem no. i. Transliteration is Karlgren's. 

184 Music dness 

spoken sound and the graphic picture 5 appears in the metrical chant- 
ing of it. Literary taste is expressed in words and sentences; and 
vitality finds its full manifestation in ho, or harmony, and yun, or 
rhyme. By ho is meant the harmony of different sounds and tones, and 
by yiin, the consonant response of the same final vowel. 6 The yun has 
a definite pattern, so it is comparatively easy to arrange the sounds to 
fit the pattern; but the ho elements are sometimes low and sometimes 
high, so it is rather difficult to harmonize all the tones. Although it 
may be easy for a writer to be deft in wielding a pen, he will find it 
difficult to select tones which will be harmonious; on the other hand, it 
is difficult to achieve perfection in literary writing, although it is easy 
to versify according to a rhyme scheme. However, although the subtle 
and delicate nature of the employment of yun and ho is difficult to 
describe, we have here touched upon the main principles involved. 

Perfect accuracy in music is illustrated in the blowing of a flute. 
The choice of notes to achieve harmony is illustrated in the playing 
of a lute. In playing a lute, the musician must move the bridge con- 
stantly and may therefore occasionally make mistakes; but in flute 
playing, since the notes are all of a fixed nature, it does not matter 
how the musician plays, he will always produce the note intended. The 
writing of Ch'en Ssu [or Ts'ao Chih] and P'an Yueh is of the nature 
of a flute-blowing melody, while that of Lu Chi and Tso Ssu is of the 
nature of the bridge-moving harmony of the lute player. On the basis 
of these examples one may draw many further inferences. 

The Ancient Poets generally emphasize purity and conciseness in 
their rhyme scheme. But the songs of Ch'u manifest Ch'u character- 
istics, and their pretentious rhyme scheme is very complicated indeed. 
When Chang Hua treated of rhyme, he said that Shih-heng [or Lu 
Chi] exhibits many Ch'u characteristics; and in the Wen-fu y Lu him- 
self mentioned, "Keep the full details without change." 7 [Lu] may be 

5 "The sound and picture" is from a line of Yang Hsiung's Fa-yen, quoted in an 
earlier chapter. See Chapter XXV, p. 144. 

6 Two or more lines ending in the same vowel. 

7 Lu Chi's Wen-fu, in Wen-hsiian, chiian 17, p. 174. Liu Hsieh quotes this line to 
show Lu Chi's love of pretentious style. 

Music dness 185 

said to have attached himself to the musical pattern of Ling-chiin [or 
Chii Yuan], 8 and to have lost sight of the classical tune based on the 
huang-chung* [and the twelve-tone scale]. The organization of sounds 
in a musical pattern should be smooth and round. A pretentious sound 
pattern in a literary piece is generally hopelessly more impracticable 
than the forcing of a square handle into a round socket. If one is able 
to avoid this fault of the square handle, he will not commit any great 

A well-trained talent with a deep understanding is usually fastidious 
about the choice of words and tones; but a less experienced person 
perfunctorily takes the sounds as they come along. Sounds taken as they 
come may be compared to those produced by a sweeping wind, or the 
jarring notes from the yii 10 played by [the inept] Nan-kuo. 11 The 
Ancients arranged their musical jade pendants by placing the \ung 
jade on the left and the chih jade on the right, for the purpose of giving 
melody to their steps, so as to avoid confusion in the pattern of the 
sounds. 12 The musical patterns are used to regulate the sound of a 
literary piece. Can they be overlooked? 

The Tsan: 
In expressing emotion, one must go far for his standard, 
But the musical patterns are near at hand. 

The rhythm of flute blowing is based on that of our physical vitality, 
And the tones of bells, on the sounds of our lips and mouth. 
When sounds have their seasoning of salt and plum sourness, 13 
The music will be as smooth as yii and chin?' 4 ' 

8 The chief poet of Ch'u. See Chapter V. 

9 The first note in the chromatic scale. See note 3, Chapter VII. 

10 A musical instrument consisting of thirty-six reed pipes. 

11 Chin-shu, in the biography of Liu Shih: "Mr. Nan-kuo does not [know how to] 
play the yii." 

12 See Li-chi yin-te, 13/17. 

13 Salt and plum, which are sour, are used to season food. See Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 

14 Yii, elm, whose seeds are edible, and chin, a kind of vegetable, are used as spices. 
Chin tastes smooth. 

1 86 Music due ss 

When the errors in sound pattern are eliminated, 15 
It will be difficult to hide the musical quality of a piece. 

XXXIV. Paragraph and Sentence 

There is a definite order to be observed in the treatment of emotions 
and ideas, and there is a definite position for each word. The ordering 
of emotion and ideas is known as change or paragraphing; and the 
placement of words is called chu\ or constructing a sentence. Chang 
means literally "to make clear," and chu "to define a position." To 
define the positions of words is to string words together to form a dis- 
tinct sentence; and to make clear emotion and ideas is to give unity 
of thought complete form. Although they differ, the functions of 
chang and chu cross each other like main roads and side streets, afford- 
ing good conditions for communication. 

In order to express what one has to say, one needs to form sentences 
from words, to organize sentences into paragraphs, and to organize 
paragraphs into completed compositions. The brilliance of a literary 
piece depends on the faultlessness of each paragraph; the clarity of the 
paragraph depends on the flawlessness of each sentence; and the purity 
of the sentence depends on a happy choice of words. For when the 
stem stands up, the branches naturally follow; and when one under- 
stands a unifying principle, he understands all about the ten thousand 
[phenomena subsumed under that principle]. 

Literary compositions are sometimes long and sometimes short; and 
the division into paragraphs and the construction of sentences conform 
to different tempos at different times. For these differences there is no 

15 These errors refer to the eight faults in sound patterns, formulated by Shen Yueh 
and others. See K6 B5 Dai Shi's Bun Kyo Hi Fu Ron, where these faults are extensively 
treated. Ko Bo Dai Shi Zenshu (Tokyo, 1910), Vol. VIII, chiian 5, pp. 138-73. In 
addition to these eight, Ko Bo Dai Shi discussed twenty other faults. For these additional 
faults, see especially pp. 151-62. 

Paragraph and Sentence 187 

fixed rule, and one must adapt his methods to varying circumstances. 
A sentence is composed of several words, which must be grouped to 
make sense; and a paragraph comprehends all aspects of one idea, and 
all must be fully expressed before the paragraph may be considered 
a paragraph. The way emotions and ideas are introduced and expressed, 
at tempos varying with different situations, may be likened to the 
whirl and swirl of a dance, in which each dancer has his special posi- 
tion in the formation and a special limit within which he is constrained; 
it may also be likened to intonation in singing, with rising and falling 

The Ancient Poets, in forging metaphors, often take ideas out of 
their context; however, in a composition one organizes paragraphs and 
constructs sentences in an orderly manner from beginning to end, just 
as one would pull a silk thread from a cocoon. The beginning lines 
should lead to the ideas to be embodied in the middle of the composi- 
tion, and the concluding sentences should reiterate the thought ex- 
pressed in what has gone before. Thus one may achieve literary beauty 
in form and organic unity in content, and the piece from beginning 
to end will be such a tightly knit composition that its different parts 
will be to each other like flower to calyx. For words, if they lost their 
appropriate companions, would be isolated without friends; and feel- 
ings and ideas, when set down out of order, would float around forever 
with no place to rest. Therefore, in constructing sentences, one must 
avoid reversing the proper order of words; and in forming paragraphs, 
one must pay attention to the order in which the ideas are treated. This 
is the principle in dealing with feelings and ideas, and the general rule 
governing rhetoric. 

Neither a composition 1 nor the sentences it contains are a fixed 
length, but the number of words in a composition or in a sentence may 
be arbitrarily fixed. A four-word line is a close-knit but unhurried unit; 
a six- word line, though loose, is not slow; and sometimes the pattern 
is changed to three-word or five- word lines as an adjustment to meet 

1 Reading with Wang Li-k'i "p'ien-chu" (i.e., a composition and the sentences [it 
contains]), for "pi-chii" (i.e., brush and sentences). 

1 88 Paragraph and Sentence 


an exigency. The form of the poems and of the sung, or sacrificial 
odes, in the Boo\ of Poetry, is marked with a dignity whose proper 
pattern is the four- word line; exceptions are "Ch'i-fu" and Chao-yin," 2 
which are made up of two-word lines. As far as we can determine, the 
two-word line pattern began with the "Tuan-chu," a folk song accom- 
panied by the bamboo flute, which was popular during the time of 
Emperor Huang; 3 the three- word line pattern first appeared in the 
"Ode to the Chief" composed during the Yii period; 4 the four- word 
line pattern flourished during the time of the Hsia, as is seen in the 
song of "Lo-jui" [that is, "Song on the Trend of the River Lo"]; 5 the 
five-word line pattern made its appearance in the Chou dynasty, with 

the poem "Hsing-lu" 6 as one example; and the six- word and seven-word 

line patterns are found in both the Boo\ of Poetry and the Songs of 

Ch'u. [The last two patterns] achieved perfection in the Western Han 
period. 7 The evolution of the patterns in expressing feeling has gone 
full circle, one form replacing another in accordance with the needs 
of each age. 

While some writers vary their rhymes, others repeat the same tone, 
in order to give cadence and rhythm to their expression and breath. 
Chia I and Mei Sheng changed their rhymes every two lines, while 
Liu Hsin and Huan T'an stuck to the same one for a hundred lines. 
In cases like these, each is carrying out his own intention. Wei-wu, 8 in 
commenting on fu, or poetic prose, 9 expressed disgust with the repeti- 
tion of rhymes and praised those who were good at changing their 
rhymes. 10 Lu Yun also said that in the case of the four-word line 

2 See nos. 185 and 268 in the Boo\ of Poetry. 

3 See note 3, Chapter XXIX. 4 See note 17, Chapter I. 

5 Could this be what is called the "Writing from the River Lo?" See note 12, Chapter 
I. According to the "Wu-hsing chih" in the Han-shu, the "Lo River Writing" was given 
to Yii, the creator of the Hsia dynasty, and is contained in Chapter 24 in the Boo\ of 
History, entitled "Hung-fan." The part considered to be the "Lo River Writing" is written 
in a four-word line pattern, though it is not a song or a poem, as we would expect. See 
Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 24/0090-0155. 

6 No. 17 in the Boo\ of Poetry. 7 Also known as Former Han. 

8 Or Ts'ao Ts'ao, the father of Ts'ao P'ei and Ts'ao Chih. 

9 See Chapter VIII. 10 This quotation is not identifiable. 

Paragraph and Sentence 189 

pattern it is best to change the rhyme every four lines. 11 From these 
expressions it would seem that the opinion of these two men about 
rhyme is similar to that of Mei Sheng and Chia I. However, if we 
change the rhyme every two lines, we may find the tonal pattern a 
little too hasty; but on the other hand, not to change the rhyme for a 
hundred lines will tax the lips and mouth to the full. Although an 
exquisite talent with a passion for words may be able to achieve the 
best in whatever form he happens to apply his mind to, it is better 
to hold to the mean with the certainty that one will not plunge into 
a pitfall. 

The Ancient Poets used the [purely metric particle] hsi 12 as an 
integral part of a sentence; but in the "Songs of Ch'u" it is used as an 
extra word. In fact, hsi in a sentence serves to assist the words by pro- 
longing their sound. It was used long ago by Shun when he composed 
his "Nan-feng." 13 But Wei-wu did not like it, perhaps because it adds 
nothing to the meaning of a piece? Fu, wei, \ai> and \u are particles 
to initiate a sentence; 14 chih, erh, yii, and * are particles used tradi- 
tionally as conjunctions inserted in the middle of a sentence; 15 hu, tsai, 
i, and yeh are particles usually used to conclude a sentence. 16 These 
particles seem idle words with no factual content, but in use they have 

11 Quoted from his letter to his elder brother Lu Chi. 

12 A particle giving pause to a line without adding to it any new sense. 

13 See note 10, Chapter VI. 

14 When placed at the beginning of a sentence, the particle fu serves to initiate the 
ideas expressed; wei, to show a contrast to the idea in the previous sentence; \ai, to 
introduce a fact or a general truth; \u, to show a causal relation between the sentence 
it introduces and the preceding one. 

15 Chih, when placed in the middle of a sentence, serves as a particle to show a rela- 
tionship between what precedes and what follows it; erh, to show a transition or addi- 
tion; yii, to express a relationship or comparison; i, to show instrumentality, reason, etc. 

16 when placed at the end of a sentence, the particle hu serves to express either a 
question or an exclamation; tsai, to express an exclamation; i, to indicate the completion 
of an idea; yeh, to indicate the conclusion of a sentence, serving as a full stop. In ex- 
plaining these particles, I have stated that "when placed" at certain positions, they would 
mean such and such, because we do find them also placed at other places than those 
enumerated by Liu Hsieh. Obviously it was not his interest either to make an exhaustive 
study of all the functions of the particles mentioned, or to study all the particles ex- 
haustively, though such a study could have been very interesting and important. At any 
rate, Liu Hsieh deserves commendation for being the first to direct attention to some 
of the particles and treat them as a group. 

190 Paragraph and Sentence 

a real function to perform. Clever writers will use them dexterously to 
fill in whatever is lacking in the style, assisting the sentences with these 
extra words. If no mistake can be permitted in the use of extra words, 
how much less can it be allowed when one is engaged in forming 
paragraphs and constructing sentences! 

The Tsan: 

There are rules about the organization of a paragraph, 

Though sentence construction is without a definite pattern. 

Ideas should be developed around a central theme, 

And elements of rhetoric should never be without appropriate com- 

Define emotion by the choice of a proper tune, 

So that they may encircle and respond to each other. 

When to separate, when to merge, when to emphasize similarity and 
when to emphasize difference — 

These decisions are worthy of one's utmost effort. 

XXXV. Linguistic Parallelism 

Nature, creating living beings, endows them with limbs in pairs. The 
divine reason operates in such a way that nothing stands alone. The 
mind creates literary language, and in doing this it organizes and 
shapes one hundred different thoughts, making what is high supple- 
ment what is low, and spontaneously producing linguistic parallelism. 
During the ages of the T'ang and the Yii, 1 when language was not 
adorned to any great extent, we already find Kao Yao using the 
following expression: 

tsui i wei ch'ing 
\ung i wei chung 

1 Dynasties ruled by Yao and Shun, two ancient legendary kings. 

Linguistic Parallelism 191 

[Crime: when in doubt, then deem it light; 
Merit: when in doubt, then deem it heavy.] 2 

and I [another minister of Shun] saying: 

man chao sun 

ch'ien shou i 

[Fullness of self brings decrease; 

Modesty receives increase.] 3 

Without intending to produce couplets, they did so, spontaneously. The 
"Wen-yen" and "Hsi-tz'u" of the Boo\ of Changes embody the pro- 
found thought of the Sage. In the narration of the four virtues of the 
hexagram ch'ien, the sentences are matched in couplets, and in the 
description of the kinds of responses evoked by the dragon and the 
tiger, the words are all paralleled in pairs. When describing the hexa- 
grams of ch'ien and 1(un as easy and simple respectively, the passage 
winds and turns, with lines smoothly woven into one another; and in 
depicting the going and coming of the sun and the moon, the alternate 
lines form couplets. Occasionally there may be some variation in the 
structure of a sentence, or some change in word order, but parallelism 
is always the aim. 4 As to the parallelism found in the work of the 
Ancient Poets or in the antiphonal lines of the Chou ministers, 5 both 
contain both single elements 6 and couplets, each appropriate for the 
situation at hand; and these come forth spontaneously with no trace 
of labor. In the hands of Yang [Hsiung], [Ssu-] Ma [Hsiang-ju], 
Chang [Heng] and Ts'ai [Yung], all of whom stressed linguistic 
parallelism particularly strongly, couplet writing flourished as spectacu- 

2 The Boo\ of History (Shih-san-ching chu-shu ed.), 4/73. Kao Yao was a minister 
of Shun. I have arranged the two lines in such a way as to show the parallel structure. 
More freely translated: "When we are in doubt about the crime committed, we would 
rather err on the side of lenience; and when we are in doubt about someone's merit, we 
would rather err in giving a heavier reward than is deserved." 

3 Ibid., 4/ 1 4a. 

4 For the text of this passage, see Chou-i yin-te, 1/1/yen, 2/1/yen, 39/Hsi shang/i, 
46 Hsi hsia/3. 

5 It was the general practice at that time for diplomatic envoys to sing their missions 
in verse, and to be answered in verse. 

6 I use "element," because it may refer to characters, phrases, or sentences. 

192 Linguistic Parallelism 

larly as Sung painting 7 and Wu casting, 8 and in fact they too indulged 
in a species of carving and engraving; as a result of it, we find their 
coupled sentences developing side by side with colorful patterns, and 
their parallelism bursting forth in conjunction with exquisite tonal 
arrangement. The host of talented writers during the Wei and the 
Chin analyzed sentence structure with scrupulous attention and coined 
phrases in harmony with their thought; they even split hairs, and 
scrutinized the infinitesimal. But only those who struck the mysterious 
spring entered into the realm of art. The superficial and the sophisti- 
cated labored to no avail. 

Of the forms of couplet there are four kinds: the verbal couplet, the 
factual couplet, the couplet of contrast, and the couplet of agreement. 
It is easy to compose a verbal couplet, but it is comparatively difficult 
to make a factual one; a couplet of contrast is superb, but one of agree- 
ment is comparatively poor. In a verbal couplet, one matches mere 
words; in a factual couplet, one must deal with what is actually experi- 
enced; a couplet of contrast is one in which different ways of reasoning 
meet on common ground; and a couplet of agreement one in which 
different facts illustrate a single idea. 

For example: 

The verbal couplet: "Labor to improve your demeanor in the garden 
of rites; let yourself soar in the field of books." From the "Shang-lin fu" 
by Ch'ang-ch'ing [or Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju]. 

The factual couplet: "[The ancient beauty] Mao-ch'iang, hiding 
herself behind her lapel, may not be the standard to compare [the 
goddess] with; [the ancient beauty] Hsi-shih, her face covered, lost 
color before [the goddess]." From the "Shen-nii fu" by Sung Yu. 

1 Chuangtzu yin-te, 56/21/45: "The ruler of Sung was having paintings made. All 
the painters gathered together and stood up ceremoniously after receiving their com- 
missions and doing obeisance to the ruler. . . . One painter came late, walking un- 
hurriedly, and when he received his commission he did not stand up. Instead, he went 
to his quarters. The ruler sent someone to watch him. He found that the painter had 
taken off his dress and sat naked with his two legs stretched out. The ruler said, 'This 
is the right way to behave. He is indeed a true painter.' " 

8 The state of Wu is famous for casting swords. See the "Ho-lii nei-chuan" in the 
Wu-yiieh ch'un-ch'iu. 

Linguistic Parallelism 193 

The couplet of contrast: "Chung I, the humble, played the music of 
Ch'u; Chuang Hsi, the prominent, groaned in the manner of Yiieh." 9 
From "Teng-lou fu" by Chung-hsiian [or Wang Ts'an]. 

The couplet of agreement: "Han-tsu thought of Fen-yii; Kuang-wu 
thought of Pai-shui." From "Ch'i-ai" by Meng-yang [or Chang Tsai]. 10 

A verbal couplet can be forged in one's imagination — hence it is easy; 
a factual couplet must have an actual source in one's knowledge — hence 
it is difficult; the "humble" [i.e., Chung I] and the "prominent" [i.e., 
Chuang Hsi] contrast, but express the same nostalgia — hence the 
couplet is superb; in the example of the couplet of agreement, the two 
main characters are both rulers and have identical hopes — hence it is 
poor. Furthermore, of the factual couplets, some may be couplets of 
contrast and some of agreement. If one can infer on the basis of these 
principal categories, he will see the ten thousand branches lying 
revealed before him. 

Chang Hua wrote in one of his poems: 

Roaming geese soar together wing to wing; 
Returning swans know enough to link their plumes. 

And Liu K'un also wrote: 

Hsuan-ni [or Confucius] lamented the capture of the unicorn; 
During the hunt in the west K'ung Ch'iu [or Confucius] shed tears. 11 

9 Chung I, a native of Ch'u, became a captive in Chin. When asked to play the lute, 
he played a southern tune, a spontaneous expression of a desire to go home. See Ch'un- 
ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 228/ch'eng 9/fu 2. Chung Hsi, a native of Yiieh, became a 
high official of Ch'u. When sick, he groaned in the manner of Yiieh, also a spontaneous 
expression of a nostalgia. See Shih-chi (1739), chiian 70, the biography of Ch'en Chen, 
p. 1 8b. 

10 The first three pieces cited here are found in the Wen-hsiian. The last one is not, 
though two other poems by Chang Tsai with the same title are included in the Wen- 
hsiian. Han-tsu (or Kao-tsu), the first emperor of the Han dynasty, sacrificed at the 
temple in the village of Fen-yii in his home district, with the hope that the deities 
might help him bring peace to the empire. See Han-shu, "Chiao-ssu chih." Kuang-wu, 
the first emperor of the Later Han, also hoping for peace, for he had had to fight his 
way to the top, thought of Pai-shui, a river, the theme of an ancient poem now lost. 
Among the lines which are preserved in Liu Hsiang's Lieh-nii chuan are these two lines: 
"The state has not been pacified; where shall I proceed?" See Liu Hsiang's Lieh-nii 
chuan (Ssu-k'u pei-yao ed.), chiian 6, p. 4. 

11 Both "wing to wing" and "to link plumes" mean companionship or love. And in 

194 Linguistic Parallelism 

Such redundance makes these lines examples of polydactylism in 
parallel sentences. 12 

In a verbal couplet, the beauty lies in artistry and cleverness; but in 
a factual couplet, the important thing is appropriateness. When two 
verbal expressions of unequal quality are matched in a couplet, it is 
like harnessing to a two-horse carriage a thoroughbred on the left and 
a nag on the right. An isolated fact unmatched is like the one-legged 
monster J(uei, which hobbles and limps. 13 If a literary piece lacks won- 
derful spirit or vitality, or if its language is without extraordinary 
patterns, then even if it is full of beautiful parallel expressions, their 
mediocrity serves merely to make our ears and eyes drowsy and to put 
us to sleep. What is important here then is to make the reasoning 
coherent and the factual reference pertinent; to fill the paragraphs with 
dazzling jade in pairs, to use alternatingly single and coupled elements, 
and to moderate the brilliance of the effect through the variety of the 
pendants. If one generalizes on the basis of these observations, he will 
see the main principles unravel of themselves. 

The Tsan: 
A body requires its limbs to be in pairs; 
A phrase, once forged, must have its counterpart. 
With the left hand one lifts; and one holds with the right, 
To attain both the essence and the flavor. 

Parallelism gleams and dazzles like flowers which are entwined, 
Reflecting without distortion like a calm mirror. 
It flows in two streams, smooth as jade, 
Giving rhythm as do the pendant jewels. 14 

Liu K'un's verse both lines have exactly the same theme, that is, that Confucius was 
sad on hearing of the capture of the unicorn during the hunt in the west. 

12 Chang Hua's poem is found in the Yii-t'ai hsin-yung, compiled by Hsu Ling, 507- 
583; Liu K'un's poem is found in Wen-hsiian. 

13 For the one-legged monster, see Han-fei-tzu, chiian 12, Chapter 33, "Wai-ch'u-shuo," 
tso, hsia, p. 222; and Chuangtzu yin-te, 44I1JI53. 

14 See Li-chi yin-te, 13/17. 

XXXVI. Metaphor 1 and Allegory (Pi and Hsing) 

Broad and profound is the Boo\ of Poetry, in which are contained the 
Six Elements. 2 Master Mao 3 in his commentary, however, drew par- 
ticular attention to the hsing, or allegory, alone; was this not perhaps 
because the feng, or lyric, spontaneously stirs the emotions, the fu, or 
narrative, might affect them indifferently, and the pi, or metaphor, is 
obvious, but the hsing alone is obscure? Pi involves reasoning by 
analogy, and hsing response to a stimulus. When we reason by analogy, 
we group things by comparing their general characteristics; and when 
we respond to stimuli, we formulate our ideas according to the subtle 
influences we receive. The hsing is the result of our responding to a 
stimulus, and the pi a consequence of reasoning by analogy. Formally, 
the pi is a linguistic expression charged with accumulated indignation, 
and the hsing is an admonition expressed through an array of parables. 4 
Since the Ancient Poets had to treat of a variety of situations with 
ever-changing significance, they needed these two devices to express 
their responses to them. 

The parables employed in the hsing appear subtle, but they are so 
apparent! They may sound insignificant, but they are profound in 
their implications. For example, in the "Kuan-chii" 5 the fishhawks 
know a formal separation of the sexes, an oblique reference to the 
virtue of the queen; and the shih-chiu bird 6 [in another poem] is 
chaste, which is also symbolic of the character of the royal mate. Do 

1 Metaphor is used to cover both simile and metaphor. 

2 See note 2, Chapter V. 3 See note 20, Chapter XVIII. 

4 Note the moralistic conception of poetry first propounded in the prefaces of the 
Boo\ of Poetry: the "Main Preface" and the prefaces to individual poems, attributed to 
Wei Hung of the Later Han. 

5 The "Kuan-chii" is the first poem in the Boo\ of Poetry, and seems to be a marriage 
song. But it is traditionally interpreted to be a poem celebrating the virtue of the bride 
of King Wen, father of King Wu, the founder of the Chou dynasty. Chii-chiu, tishhawks, 
are taken to be the symbol of virtue, because they are believed to practice a formal 
separation between the sexes, i.e., to have a sense of sexual honor. For this reason, the 
poem is thought to allude to the virtue of Queen Wen. 

6 The theme of another poem in the Boo\ of Poetry, no. 12. Shih-chiu, thought to be 
doves or cuckoos, are believed to be loyal to their mates, hence, a symbol of chastity. 

196 Metaphor and Allegory 

not conjecture about these birds, for what is intended to be emphasized 
to us is chastity; and do not let these birds of prey distract your mind, 
because the important thing is the virtue of sexual separation. Such 
parables are like the first rays of light before the break of dawn, still 
enveloped in ambiguity. This is the reason why commentaries are 
required to make the meaning clear. 

What do we really mean by pi} A description of things used to stand 
for ideas, and the use of figures of speech to intimate the nature of 
certain facts. Thus gold and pewter are used to stand for illustrious 
virtue, a jade tally signifies an outstanding man, 7 a caterpillar means 
education, 8 cicadas and grasshoppers denote howling and shouting, 9 
washing clothes symbolizes sadness of heart, 10 and the rolling up of a 
mat is used as a figure for firmness of will: 11 these illustrate the mean- 
ing of the pi. As to lines such as, "Your hemp robe is like snow," 12 or 
"The two outside horses go as if they were dancing," 13 they all belong 
to the pi category. 

When King Hsiang of Ch'u trusted in the words of the sycophants, 
the San-lii, 14 filled with loyalty and moral indignation, created the 
Sao in the spirit of the BooJ^ of Poetry ; the Sao, intended as a remon- 
strance, employs both the pi and the hsing. 15 

The Han dynasty may have prospered generally, but the poets were 
weak. The principle of remonstrance was forgotten, and the meaning 
of hsing lost. In their stead we find the fu, or narrative, and the sung, 
or sacrificial song, loud in chorus, and pi forged profusely as cloud 
patterns. Such confusion and haste went counter to the principles of old. 

There is a variety of ways in which a pi, that is, a metaphor, may be 

7 See the Boo\ of Poetry, poems nos. 55, 252. 

8 Ibid., no. 96. "Ming-ling" is a caterpillar of an insect identified as Heliothis armigera. 

9 Ibid., no. 255. 10 Ibid., no. 26. 

11 Ibid. Actually, the line runs: "My heart is not a mat, you cannot roll it." Rolling 
up a mat would seem to connote the opposite of firmness. But in classical allusions, 
Chinese scholars often quote out of context, and expect the reader to understand the 
meaning by referring in his own mind to the original context and the original meaning. 

12 Ibid., no. 150. 13 Ibid., no. 78. 

14 The office Ch'u Yuan occupied before he was alienated. The function of the office 
was to educate the young members of the three royal clans. 

15 For Ch'u Yuan and his Li-sao, see Chapter V above. 

Metaphor and Allegory 197 

made : it may employ similarity of sound, visual resemblance, compara- 
bility to a mental content, or capability of being illustrated by certain 
facts. Sung Yii, in his "Kao-T'ang fu," wrote: "The mourning of the 
branches sounds like a yii"; this is a pi comparing sounds. 16 Mei Sheng 
said in his "T'u-yiian," "Ablaze in confusion, [the birds] look like dust 
in the midst of white clouds"; 17 this is a pi comparing appearances. 
Chia I, in his "Fu-niao fu," said, "Calamity and blessing are inter- 
twined like the strands of a cord"; this is a pi comparing a physical 
pattern with a pattern of events. Wang Pao's "Tung-hsiao" contains, 
[The sound of a flute] "is soft and warm, like the voice of a loving 
father speaking to his son"; this is a pi comparing the sounds of an 
instrument with the feeling of the heart. Ma Yung's "Ch'ang-ti" has 
these lines: [The tune of the long horizontal flute] "is rich and con- 
tinuous, like the eloquence of Fan [Chii] and Ts'ai [Tse]"; 18 this is 
a pi comparing the wealth of a sound pattern with the eloquence of 
argument. And Chang Heng, in his "Nan-tu fu," said, "The dancers 
rose and danced a Cheng dance which was like the drawing of a silk 
thread from a cocoon"; 19 this is a pi comparing the manners of things. 
Metaphors like these are the chief elements in tz'u 20 and fu. 21 But poets 
who employed this pi every day forgot the art of the hsing. They 
became versed in the insignificant and lost sight of the important. This 
is why their writing never equaled that of the Chou period. 

As for Yang [Hsiung], Pan [Ku], Ts'ao [Chih], Liu [Chen], and 
their group, they described mountains and rivers, and the patterns of 
clouds and things. In these descriptions they wove metaphors into 
beautiful forms, capable of startling the ears and bewitching the eyes 
of the reader. This is their achievement. In An-jen's [or P'an Yueh's] 

16 Sung Yu's fu is found in the Wen-hsiian. For yii, see note 10, Chapter XXXIII. 

17 Mei's poem, which is found in Ku-wen-yiian, has, instead of "Ablaze in confusion," 
"Swiftly and in confusion." 

18 Both Fan and Ts'ai were eloquent public speakers of the Warring States period. 

19 This piece and the previous one are both found in the Wen-hsiian. The line quoted 
here is an abbreviation. The original runs: "(They) sat singing the southern songs, and 
rose to dance the Cheng dance, which was like the soaring of white cranes and the 
drawing of a silk thread from a cocoon." 

20 See Chapter V above. 21 See chapter VIII above. 

198 Metaphor and Allegory 

"Ying-fu," the line "Shooting gold in a sandy beach," and in Chi-ying's 
[or Chang Han's] miscellaneous poems, the line "Green branches look 
like a bundle of jade" are both in the true spirit of the pi. 22 

Throughout all the variety of the pi, the excellence lies in the aptness 
of the representation. A writer is valueless if, trying to carve a swan, 
he succeeds only in approximating a duck. 

The Tsan: 

The pi and the hsing of the Ancient Poets 

Are perfect perceptions resulting from their responses to the stimuli 
of facts. 

Things which are as far apart as Hu [in the north] and Yiieh [in the 

May through their similarities be as close as the liver and the gall. 23 

For a writer to be able to be faithful to the original in his representation 
depends on the working of his mind; 

And in the forging of language he must be both firm and daring. 

In creating lyrics and poems, the mass of materials should be so organ- 
ized as to flow as smoothly as a stream. 

XXXVII. Embellishment as Description 

"What is beyond shape is called tao, and what is within shape is called 
ch'ir x [Ch'i means literally instrument, the tangible, hence, the phe- 
nomenal.] It is difficult to depict the noumenal tao, for even words 
which have been refined cannot approximate it; but the phenomenal 
ch'i are easy to describe, for their forms can be accurately pictured 

22 Both P'an's and Chang's poems are found in the Wen-hsiian. The theme of P'an's fu 
is the fireflies, which appear like shooting gold in a sandy beach. 

23 Chuangtzu yin-te, 12/5/7: "From the point of view of difference, the liver and 
gall are as far apart as Ch'u and Yiieh." Liu Hsieh made use of this reference with some 

1 Chou-i vin-te, 44/hsi shang/12. 

Embellishment as Description 199 

through vigorous language. Amount of talent, whether great or small, 
has no bearing on this; it is due to the nature of the tao, or principle, 
and the ch'i y or particular things, themselves. [In the phenomenal 
world] all things from heaven and earth downward partake of sound 
and shape. Whenever language is used to describe them, there is always 
embellishment in the description. Even in the Boo\ of Poetry and the 
Boo\ of History, whose language is marked with classic grace, and 
may serve as the standard for the whole world to look up to, we find 
exaggerated accounts of facts, expressed in highly ornamented language. 
For example: to describe height, we have: "Lofty is [the Sacred Moun- 
tain]; grandly it reaches to heaven"; 2 to describe narrowness, we have: 
"[Who says the River is broad?] It is not even wide enough for a 
knifelike canoe." 3 Referring to a great number, we have: "His sons 
and grandsons will be a thousand, a hundred thousand"; 4 and referring 
to a small number, we have: "Of the people [of Chou] there was not 
one body left undamaged." 5 In describing [how the great flood] inun- 
dated mountains, [the Boo\ of History] talks about its "overflowing 
heaven"; 6 and in speaking of the mutiny [of the Shang troops against 
their own ruler], it says that "pestles floated" in the bloodshed. 7 The 
language in all these cases is certainly exaggerated; but it does not do 
any violence to the ideas. The crying of an owl has always been ugly; 
could its cry become pleasant because it settled in the grove by the 
semicircular moat? 8 The t'u plants taste bitter; could their taste become 
sweet because they grew on the Chou plain? 9 Yes, for in these cases 
the real intention is to praise, 10 and the distortion of the ideas serves 

2 The Boo\ of Poetry, no. 259. Karlgren's translation. 3 Ibid., no. 61. 

4 Ibid., no. 249. 5 Ibid., no. 258. 6 Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 1/0299-0302. 

7 Ibid., 23/0343-0355. In the account of King Wu's campaign against the last ruler 
of the Shang dynasty, it is said that when the Shang troops revolted there was so much 
blood shed that pestles floated in it. 

8 The Boo\ of Poetry, no. 299: "Fluttering are those flying owls, they settle in the 
grove by the semicircular moat; they eat the fruits of our mulberry trees, and comfort 
us with their fine note." 

9 Ibid., no. 237: "The plain of Chou was rich and ample: even the ch'in and t'u 
were sweet like honey-cakes." 

10 Poem 299 is in praise of a marquis of Lu, celebrating his interest in the state college. 
symbolized by the semicircular moat. And poem 237 praises the ancestors of the Chou, 
who, through thick and thin, had made the plain of Chou inhabitable. 

200 Embellishment as Description 

as a kind of ornament. The great Sage's recorded remarks may be 
treated as principles, expressed by Mencius in the following words: 
"Those who comment upon the Boo\ of Poetry should not because of 
one term misconstrue the meaning of a sentence; and should not 
because of a sentence misconstrue the original idea." 11 

Lavish exaggeration in description was first employed in the works 
of Sung Yii and Ching Ch'a; and [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju, who gave 
[Emperor Wu himself] a sense of flying on the wind, 12 contributed to 
the ascendancy of literary oddities and excesses. In his "Shang-lin fu" he 
said that shooting stars and an arching rainbow entered the window 
of the Shang-lin palace; and elsewhere, in a description of a successful 
hunt, he wrote that fei-lien 13 and ckiao-ming 1 * were caught. 15 Yang 
Hsiung, following in his wake, spoke of the precious in his "Kan-ch'iian 
fu" by borrowing the gems of jade trees, and of height by referring to 
the fall of ghosts and deities. 16 As to [Pan Ku's mention of] the one- 
eyed fish swimming in pairs in his "Hsi-tu fu," 17 and [Chang Heng's 
mention of] the sea deity, 18 in the light of reason there is no possible 
way to prove them, but as cases of exaggeration, they have not gone 
to extremes. When Tzu-yiin [or Yang Hsiung], in his "Yu-lieh fu," 
flogged Fu-fei to feed Ch'u Yiian, 19 or when Chang Heng, in his 

11 Mengtzu yin-te, 36/52/4. 

12 See note 2, Chapter XXVIII. 

13 Fei-lien is a mythological bird, with the body of a bird and the head of a deer, 
known as the dragon-sparrow. 

14 Another mythological bird, resembling a phoenix. 

15 "Shang-lin fu" is found in the Wen-hsiian. 

16 "Kan-ch'iian fu" is also found in the Wen-hsiian. 

17 Following Chi's emendation of reading "Hsi-tu" for "Tung-tu," which is ap- 
parently a mistake. See the Wen-hsiian. 

18 Also found in the Wen-hsiian. 

19 Fu-fei was said to be the daughter of Fu-hsi, a mythological character. She drowned 
in the Lo River, thus becoming Goddess of Lo. Ch'u Yiian mentioned her as one of the 
beauties he wanted, but failed to get. In the original piece the line runs: [Emperor Wu's 
hunting party] "flogged Fu-fei and fed Ch'u Yiian, P'eng, and Hsu." See Wen-hsiian, 
chiian 8. Yang Hsiung here tried to point out the extravagant scale of the emperor's 
hunting expedition. He disturbed the Lo River in the north, of which Fu-fei was the 
deity, and reached the banks of the rivers in the south where Ch'u Yiian, P'eng Hsien, 
and Wu Tzu-hsii drowned. Flogging and feeding are figures for reaching these rivers. 
Liu Hsieh disregarded the original context and combined the two instances, the flogging 
and the feeding, as if the poet was flogging Fu-fei to feed Ch'u Yiian, omitting, in the 

Embellishment as Description 201 

"Yii-lieh fu," exiled the water deity to the desert in the north, 20 they 
were loose indeed in emptily using these excessive descriptions, for 
neither was the beautiful Goddess of Lo a spirit of the mountains and 
rivers, nor was the water deity the spirit of hills and marshes. 21 These 
are cases in which the effort to exaggerate the majestic air and adorn 
[ ] 22 has resulted in incongruity and inconsistent statements. 

[There are writings which] describe the appearances of mountains 
and seas, or body forth the forms of palaces and temples; they make 
them stand in craggy height, some glimmering and some glowing; 
ablaze with brilliance, lofty in form, these almost come to life. Such 
extraordinary spectacles are achieved by exaggeration and adornment. 
Young talents, full of admiration for physical vitality and ambitious 
for fame, are thinking of real soaring when they think of flying, and 
feel ashamed of tolerating the least constraint in step when they think 
of galloping. When they describe something brilliant and dazzling, 
not even the colors of spring are good enough to present its beauty; 
and when they portray a state of blight and decay, not even a winter 
valley is adequate to indicate its desolation; when they speak of happi- 
ness, we hear laughter in the very midst of their words; and when they 
speak of sorrow, sound is mixed with tears. Writings like these can 
certainly unfold what is hidden and put to flight what has been earth- 
bound; they open the eyes of the blind and startle the ears of the deaf. 

But when adornment goes to extremes, sounds swarm disorderly in 
the mind; and when exaggeration exceeds what is appropriate, there 
is incongruity in both name and fact. If one can appreciate the degree 
of exaggeration employed in the Poetry and History, and stop short of 
the excessive elements in the writings of Yang [Hsiung] and [Ssu-]ma 

process, the other two heroes who also drowned themselves in the water. Liu's chief 
purpose was, of course, to show the exaggerated embellishment of Yang Hsiung. 

20 Chang's fu is found in the Ch'iian-hou-han wen in fragments. The line cited here 
is not found there. 

21 The theme of these two fu is hunting, which is believed to be often obstructed by 
the spirits of mountains and rivers. Since neither the Goddess of Lo nor the water deity 
was such a spirit, they could do nothing about the hunting. Hence, Liu Hsieh speaks 
of their use as empty or purposeless. 

22 The text is corrupt here. 

202 Embellishment as Description 

[Hsiang-ju], so that exaggeration is held within proper limits, and 
adornment does not involve falsehood, then he will certainly achieve 
true excellence. 

The Tsan: 
Exaggeration and adornment have their function: 
When has literature ever followed a straitened path? 
The sweep of words is always likened to the movement of a great roc 

[across the sky], 23 
And the expansion of vitality to the gradual rising of geese. 
Pour out the sea to get the pearls, 
And level Mount K'un for jade: 24 

These figures are exaggerations, but they are not excessive, 
Extravagant they certainly are, but still faultless. 

XXXVIII. Factual Allusion and Textual Reference 

Factual allusion and textual reference are factors outside the realm of 
literary composition. In a factual allusion, one adduces a fact to support 
some generalization; and in a textual reference, one cites an ancient 
text to support a statement. When King Wen wrote propositions for 
the lines of the hexagrams which he had fixed, in his comment on the 
nine-in-the-third-place line in the hexagram chi-chi he alluded to the 
military expedition of Kao-tsung in the past; 1 and in his comment on 
the six-in-the-fifth-place line of hexagram ming-i y he mentioned the 

23 The roc is a fabulous bird of enormous size, flying at a height of 90,000 //'. See 
Chuangtzu yin-te, 1/1/3. 

24 Mount K'un is famous for jade buried in it. Its full name is K'un-kang. 

1 A hexagram consists of six lines. The lines are of two kinds: the yin, i.e., a broken 

line like , and the yang, i.e., an unbroken line like — . These lines are numbered 

upward from the bottom. The yin lines are known as sixes and the yang as nines. 
The first yang line in a hexagram is called the "nine in the first place," and the first 
yin line, the "six in the first place," etc. Hexagram chi-chi is number 63 of the 64 
hexagrams. "Kao-tsung" was one of the Yin rulers, generally known as Wu-ting, who 
reigned from 1324 to 1266 B.C. During his reign he led an expedition against the devil's 

Allusion and Reference 203 

steadfastness of Prince Chi in recent times. 2 In these examples facts 
are adduced to illustrate certain ideas. [In the Boo\ of History], when 
Lord Yin led his expedition against Hsi and Ho, 3 teachings from the 
Cheng-tien were quoted [by Lord Yin]; 4 and King P'an-keng repeated 
to his people the sayings of Ch'ih-jen. 5 In these cases, maxims of antiq- 
uity are cited as general principles. It is then the rule of the Sages and 
their general practice in the Classics to cite old maxims to clarify general 
principles and to allude to sociohistorical facts to illustrate ideas. 

The Hsiang commentary to hexagram Ta-ch'u 6 says: "The superior 
man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds 
of the past," so it is possible that these might also be encompassed 
within the scope of literary writing. 7 Ch'ii [Yuan] and Sung [Yii] are 
known to have followed the example of the Ancient Poets in their 
poetry; but on close examination we find that, although they cited the 
Ancient Poems, they did not follow the original texts. However, Chia I, 
in his "Fu[-niao] fu," pioneered with his direct quotation from the 
Ho-\uan tzuf and [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju, in his "Shang-lin fu," quoted 

country, that is, the Huns, and conquered them. See Chou-i yin-te, 38/63/3. 

2 Ming-i is hexagram 36. Prince Chi, a relative of the evil tyrant Chou-hsin, the last 
ruler of the Shang dynasty, maintained his firm conviction despite his cruel treatment 
at the hands of the tyrant. Ibid., 23/36/5 hsiang. 

3 See the "Yin-cheng" (The expedition of Yin), Chapter 9 in the Book, of History. 
Hsi and Ho failed in their duties as astronomers because of their indulgence in drinking. 
Hence the punitive campaign. 

4 Cheng-tien is believed to be a work of government institutions in the Hsia dynasty. 
The teachings cited: "When they anticipate the time, let them be put to death without 
mercy; when they are behind the time, let them be put to death without mercy." James 
Legge, The Chinese Classics, Vol. Ill, Part I, p. 166. Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 9/0162-0177. 
"They" refers to astronomers. They were held responsible for the accurate calculation 
of the appearance of the heavenly phenomena. 

5 P'an-keng was a ruler of the Yin. Ch'ih-jen 's sayings: "In men, we seek individuals 
of old families; in vessels, we do not seek old ones, but new." Legge, The Chinese 
Classics, Vol. Ill, Part I, pp. 229-30. Shang-shu t'ung-chien, 16/0412-0426. For "in- 
dividuals of old familiies" Legge also suggests "old, experienced men," which seems to 
be a better rendering. 

6 Ta-ch'u is hexagram 26. For the quotation see Chou-i yin-te, 17/26/hsiang, and 
also I -chin g, I, ill. 

7 "These" refers to factual allusion and textual reference, which at the outset of the 
chapter were considered as being outside of literary composition. 

8 By a Chou author, whose name is not known. The work is a mixture of Taoism 
and legalism. 

204 Allusion and Reference 

from a letter written by Li Ssu. 9 But these examples occur only once 
in ten thousand instances. 

By the time Yang Hsiung quoted passages from the Boo\ of Poetry 
and the Boo\ of History in writing his "Pai-kuan chen," and Liu Hsin 
quoted from past histories in writing his "Sui-ch'u fu," writers had 
come gradually to employ such allusions and references fairly com- 
monly. And when Ts'ui [Yin, ?-92], Pan [Ku], Chang [Heng], and 
Ts'ai [Yung] began to select passages from the Classics and histories, 
spreading their flowers and fruits far and wide, and established their 
reputations through writing, they became models who were imitated 
by later scholars. 

Although ginger and cassia need soil to grow, their bitter taste comes 
from their nature; similarly, although literary composition requires 
hard study, real ability to compose comes out of one's natural endow- 
ment. Talent issues from within, and study is achieved by external 
effort. Sometimes one is erudite and yet lacking in talent, and some- 
times one is talented and yet a pauper in learning. Poverty in learning 
makes a writer hesitant in alluding to facts to prove his ideas; while a 
lack of talent results in a laborious effort to coin phrases to express 
adequately the feelings. This illustrates the distinction between what 
proceeds from within and what is achieved by external effort. 

Thus, in literary writing, the mind operates in harmony with the 
writing brush, with talent playing the part of leader, and learning 
the role of its assistant. When leader and assistant work in perfect 
harmony, vivid literary patterns will emerge; but if either talent or 
learning is one-sided or narrow, the result, although it may have artistry, 
will seldom be a work of high quality. Tzu-yiin [or Yang Hsiung], 
with all his talent, said of himself in a memorial that he was a man 
deficient in learning, and that his literary achievement was the result 
of the study he did in the Stone Chamber. 10 That the inner and the 

9 Flourished in the latter part of the third century B.C. See D. Bodde's China's First 

10 The Stone Chamber was built by Hsiao Ho, the first prime minister of the Han 

Allusion and Reference 205 

outer must supplement each other is a rule that is true for all times. 
In speaking of the writing of Master Chang, Wei-wu [or Ts'ao Ts'ao] 
said that his work was poor; for Chang was superficial in his scholar- 
ship and limited in his literary experience, and his only specialty was 
plagiarizing the insignificant writings of Ts'ui and Tu. Not every- 
thing he wrote could be inquired into too closely, for if it were, he 
could not have identified its original source. 11 This is the result of the 
fault of being ill-informed. 

The Classics and ancient historical records are deep and profound, 
and they are voluminous in quantity. They are the profound source of 
all writings, and the spiritual realm in which talent and imagination 
make their abode. Writers like Yang [Hsiung], Pan [Ku], and others 
all drew upon them as their sources. In them they tilled and farmed 
with all their might, and they fished and hunted as they wished. 
Anyone who is able to hold a knife and do some cutting will surely be 
among those who enjoy the riches of these sources. Therefore, the 
development of a writer's talent depends on the breadth of his literary 
experience. One piece of fur from under a fox's foreleg will not keep 
one warm, nor could one be satisfied until he had eaten thousands 
of chicken feet. So in acquiring learning the writer must read widely 
and in referring to facts he must be concise; in organization he must 
exercise his logical sense and in reasoning he must be clear and accurate. 
When all these good points meet in a writer, both his inner and his 
external potentialities will have been realized to the full. Liu Shao, in 
his "Chao-tu fu," said, "A retainer of Prince [P'ing-yiian] yelled at 
strong Ch'u and forced its king to take oath, dipping his finger in 
blood; and a subordinate official in the employ of a eunuch chided the 
powerful Ch'in and made its king play the earthen fou." 12 Such a use 

dynasty, to house the maps, charts, and documents he collected from the Ch'in palace. 
The Chamber became an imperial library, where were deposited all literary works 
obtained in subsequent reigns. Yang Hsiung's statement is found in his letter to Liu 
Hsin, now preserved in the Ku-wen-yiian, chiian 10. 

11 Wei-wu's statements are not identifiable, and it is impossible to determine who 
Chang, Ts'ui, and Tu were. 

12 Fragments of "Chao-tu fu" are included in Yen Ko-chun's Ch'iian san-\uo wen, 
chiian 32. These historical facts are mentioned in the Shih-chi. See Shih-chi chi chu-shih 

206 Allusion and Reference 

of historical facts is both entirely reasonable and very significant. For 
when facts are adduced appropriately to make a point, these facts, 
though not especially important in themselves, will yield real fruit. 
Their function may be compared to that of the linchpin of a wheel 
which, though only an inch in length, controls the whole wheel, or to 
the bolt of a gate which, though only a foot in length, controls the gate. 
When subtle words and fitting facts are misplaced so that their signifi- 
cance is lost, it is like using gold and jade to decorate one's legs or 
applying cosmetics to one's chest. When a writer's allusions to past 
events are appropriate to the situation in question, it is as if he himself 
has created them. But if the facts alluded to are out of harmony with 
the context, their use will always be a blemish. 

Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao Chih] was the outstanding talent of them all. 
But in his letter to K'ung Chang he said, "The song of Ke-tien was 
sung by a thousand voices, and those who chimed in numbered ten 
thousand; and for this reason, people did not value the ancient music 
of Shao-hsiaP This is a mistaken allusion, for the song of Ke-tien was 
sung by a chorus of three men. And [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju, in his "Shang- 
lin fu," said, "There was the dance of T'ao-t'ang and the song of 
Ke-tien, which was sung by a thousand and chimed in with by ten 
thousand." The "one thousand singers" and "ten thousand chimers-in" 
are products of Hsiang-ju's own imagination, and a flight too far afield 
of the original song of Ke-tien; to exaggerate three into ten thousand 
is loose reporting and irresponsible rendering, clearly an absurdity. 13 

The "Yiian-k'uei," a poem on a garden sunflower, by Lu Chi, runs: 

[Things] shelter their feet by the same instinct, 
But each has a unique life pattern which differs from ten 
thousand others. 

The sunflower's ability to protect its feet was cited [by Confucius] to 

ts'ung-ho yin-te, 76/3b and 15/3613. The name of the retainer is Mao Sui, and the name 
of the subordinate official is Lin Hsiang-ju. Fou is a musical instrument made of 
earthenware. "Dipping a finger in blood" means taking oath at the signing of a treaty. 

13 Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju was the first one to make this exaggerated statement, which 
was later quoted by Ts'ao Chih. 

Allusion and Reference 207 

ridicule the artless Pao-chuang[-tzu], 14 and that creepers know how 
to shelter their roots was stated by Yueh Yii. 15 So if [Lu Chi] meant 
to liken the sunflower to the creepers, his allusion is a mistake; and if 
he thought that shelter was a better term to use than protect, then he lost 
sight of the true nature of the original situations in his modification. 16 
This is a case of very slovenly thinking. When men as brilliant and 
keen as Tzu-chien [or Ts'ao Chih] or as penetrating and meticulous 
as Shih-heng [or Lu Chi] could not avoid making mistakes of this 
kind, we may as well save our censure in a case like that of Ts'ao Jen, 
who made a mistake in alluding to Kao-t'ang. 17 

An artificer makes judgments about timber, and a literary man 
makes choices among the Classics. Good timber is transformed into 
definite form by the application of an ax; appropriate facts are turned 
into a part of a literary work through the exercise of knife and brush. 
May scholars, whose function it is to think, be worthy of their names 
in the face of the artificer! 

The Tsan: 

Profound and rich are the Classics and ancient texts, 

Their language is exquisite and their ideas have far-reaching impli- 

14 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 247/Ch'eng 17/5 Tso: "Confucius said, Tao- 
chuang-tzu did not have even the instinct of a sunflower, for even a sunflower is able 
to protect its feet.'' " Confucius made this remark when he heard that Pao-chuang-tzu's 
legs had been cut off by the Duke of Ch'i because of a charge of implication in a certain 
court intrigue of which Pao was unable to clear himself. [Italics mine. — V.Y.S.] 

15 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 155 /Wen 7/5 Tso: "Duke Chao [of Sung] was 
about to dispose of the princes. Yueh Yii said, 'This is not right. The royal clans are the 
branches and leaves of the royal house. Should they be disposed of, there would be 
nothing to shelter its roots. Even creepers know how to shelter their trunks and roots, 
. . . how much more do we expect a ruler of a state to be able to do so.' " [Italics 
mine.— V.Y.S.] 

16 To keep the allusion free from confusion, instead of "shelter their feet," Lu Chi 
should have said, "protect their feet," because "protect" was originally used with feet 
in a situation when the sunflower was cited as a comparison. Lu's modification serves 
only to confuse the picture. 

17 Ts'ao Jen should be Ts'ao Hung, who, in his letter to Wei Wen-ti, or Ts'ao P'ei, 
said, "It is said that people who pass by Kao-t'ang sing in the manner of Wang Pao." 
According to Mencius, it was Mien Chii, and not Wang Pao, who was a singer at 
Kao-t'ang, and whose song everyone wished to learn. See Mengtzu yin-te, 48/6B/6. 

208 Allusion and Reference 

Their realm is vast as rivers and seas, 

And fruitful as Mount K'un and Forest Teng; 18 

They are [filled with literary allusions and timber] for a literary 

carpenter to choose and take, 
And jade and pearls in abundance as gifts. 

To be able to use the words of others as if they were one's own creation 
Is to have perfect understanding of the past. 

XXXIX. Philology and Choice of Words' 

When the array of written signs was complete, the practice of knot 
tying was discontinued; it was the markings of birds which showed 
the way toward the creation of characters. These signs and characters 
make up the external appearances of our speech and are the dwelling 
place of literary form. When Minister Ts'ang Chieh first devised them, 
ghosts cried and heaven rained grain [as an omen of the power of the 
characters]. 2 The Yellow Emperor, through their use, made officials 
fulfill their duties and chronicled the conditions of the people in bold 
relief. According to the principles established by the early kings, all 
characters ought to be written in the same style. And royal emissaries 
were sent out to record opinions and usage among the people, for the 
purpose of standardizing the script and pronunciation. In the Chou-li 
(Book of Chou institutions) there is mentioned Pao-shih, whose duty 

18 For Mount K'un, see note 24, Chapter XXXVII. Forest Teng is a legendary forest 
mentioned in the Huai-nan-tzu, "Tsui-hsing": "K'ua-fu [a spiritual beast] threw away 
his staff, which turned into Forest Teng." 

1 The first part of this chapter is based on the "Epilogue" to the Shuo-wen, which 
is a lexicon by a Han scholar named Hsu Shen. The book was completed in A.D. 100. 

2 Ts'ang Chieh, a minister of the Yellow Emperor, was credited with the invention 
of characters. In the "Pen-ching-hsun" of the Huai-nan tzu it is said that when Ts'ang 
Chieh invented characters, heaven rained grains and ghosts cried at night. Wang Ch'ung, 
a Han scholar and a naturalist, convincingly refuted this statement which suggested the 
evil effect of the invention of characters. See his Lun-heng, "Kan-hsu p'ien" (Chu-tzu 
chi-ch'eng ed.), p. 52. 

Philology and Choice of Words 209 

it is to teach the six lexigraphic principles. 3 When the Ch'in 4 [autocrat] 
put the old texts to the fire, 5 it was the government officials who were 
made teachers instead. 6 Prime Minister Li Ssu created Ch'in's chuan 
or "seal style" by modifying the old script, which had been devised 
by Historian Chou [of King Hsiian of Chou, 827-782 B.C.]; later 
Ch'eng Miao created what is known as the li style. 7 Since that time the 
ancient script has been abandoned. In the code compiled during the 
first years of the Han, the rules governing character writing are clearly 
published. The grand historian, in his instruction of the pupils, taught 
them and examined them on the six styles. 8 And officials and others 
who made mistakes in writing characters in their memorials were 
customarily impeached and punished. For example, Shih Chien, miss- 
ing a stroke in the character ma [horse, in his memorial to the throne], 
was afraid of the death penalty. 9 Although this was because he was a 
cautious man, it also indicated that the character writing was con- 
sidered of great importance at the time. During the reign of Emperor 
Wu [140-87 B.C.], [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju composed the lexicon Fan- 
chiang p'ien. During the reigns of Emperors Hsiian [73-49 B.C.] and 
P'ing [A.D. 1-5], 10 attempts were made to collect philological works. 
Chang Ch'ang permanently standardized the correct pronunciation, 

3 These principles are: pictographs, simple ideographs, compound ideographs, loan 
characters, phonetic compounds, and derivative characters. See Y. R. Chao, Mandarin 
Primer (Harvard University Press, 1948), pp. 60-63. 

4 The first dynasty under which China was unified. 

5 This happened in the year 213 B.C. The first emperor of the Ch'in dynasty was 
intent on standardizing not only weights and measures and other more tangible aspects 
of the life of the people, but sought also to unify thought by doing away with all books 
which might for one reason or another challenge his authority. 

6 Not all books were burned. Books spared were housed in the imperial library. The 
people were forbidden to keep books in their homes, on pain of death. If they wished 
to learn, they had to go to the government. A neat method of thought control. 

7 A square type of script evolved by modifying the chuan style. 

8 According to the "I-wen-chih" in the Han-shu, the code was compiled by Hsiao Ho. 
The six styles are: \u or ancient; ch'i or strange (c/i'i is a variety of kti style); chuan 
or seal; // or square; miu-chuan or winding seal; and ch'ung or worm style. 

9 Shih-chi, the biography of Wan-shih chiin, chuan 103; Han-shu, the biography of 
Shih Fen, chuan 46. 

10 Instead of Emperor "P'ing," the text has Emperor "Ch'eng," which is apparently 
a mistake. See "Epilogue" to the Shuo-wen, and the "I-wen chih" in the Han-shu. 

210 Philology and Choice of Words 

and Yang Hsiung wrote philological elucidations of strange charac- 
ters. 11 Both [Chang and Yang] were versed in the lexicons [Erh-]ya 12 
and [Ts'ang-]chieh p'ien, 13 and made a comprehensive study of both 
the pronunciation and the meaning of characters. These works came 
to be thoroughly understood by all who were great writers. These 
writers composed narrative fu on capital cities and gardens, employing 
loan characters and phonetic compounds. For this reason, the philo- 
logical studies of the Former Han were concerned mostly with re- 
markably important characters. This was due not only to their unique 
philological system, but also to the unusual fact that such a system 
was common knowledge among all writers. 

By the time of the Later Han, the study of philology went into 
eclipse. Attention was directed to "double script" and "obscure com- 
mentary," of which half is good and half is poor. 14 

During the Wei dynasty, the emphasis was on literary patterns, and 
there was a general rule governing the use of characters. When people 
returned to the works of the Han, they found them difficult and deep. 
Thus Ch'en Ssu [or Ts'ao Chih] spoke of the works of Yang [Hsiung] 
and [Ssu-] ma [Hsiang-ju] as obscure in aim and deep in purpose, their 
language incomprehensible in the absence of a teacher and their ideas 
not understandable without broad scholarship. This was due not only 
to the fact that Yang and Ssu-ma were outstanding talents, but also 
to the fact that the characters which they used had become obscure. 

Since the time of the Chin, writers in general have used simple and 
easy characters. For if everybody is used to the easy, who will essay the 
difficult? Now, one strange or unfamiliar character would arouse a 
startled feeling about all of a writer's sentences, and would be described 
as "impish" if unrecognized by three people. But what everybody 
knows becomes easy, even though it was originally difficult, and what 

11 Yang's work is known as "Hsiin-tsuan p'ien," also a lexicon. See the "I-wen chih" 
in the Han-shu. 

12 A pre-Ch'in lexicon, treating of characters found in the Classics. 

13 Another lexicon, written by Li Ssu, the first prime minister of the Ch'in dynasty. 
Li used the name of the first lexicographer as his title. 

14 Examples of "double script" and "obscure commentary" may be found in the 
"Epilogue" to the Shuo-wen. 

Philology and Choice of Words 211 

has been discarded by the age becomes difficult, even though it may 
have been easy originally. We should exercise the utmost discretion 
in our choice of words. 

The Erh-ya was compiled by the disciples of Confucius, and is the 
lapel and sash of the Poetry and History. The lexicon Tsang-chieh was 
compiled by Li Ssu, and it is the remnant vestiges of Historian Chou's 
ancient script based on bird-markings. The lexicon Erh-ya is the prime 
source of philological elucidation; the Tsang-chieh a garden of won- 
drous literary forms. They differ from each other but supplement each 
other like the left and right limbs. Those who understand the new by 
inference from the old are savants in the art of writing. 

The meaning of a character changes with the passing of time, as 
new senses are adopted and old ones are discarded. It also evolves from 
simple into complex forms, differing in their esthetic appeal. The sound 
of the mind is expressed in speech, and speech resides in characters: 
when reciting, we find beauty in \ung and shang, that is, "the con- 
sonance of the speech"; and when we compose, our ability is made 
manifest by the forms of the characters which we choose. 

In grouping words and composing a piece, a writer must be versed 
in the choice of words: first of all, he must avoid what is odd and 
strange; second, he must avoid characters with the same radical; third, 
he must weigh carefully his repetitions; and fourth, he must be bal- 
anced in the use of the simple and complex forms. By the odd and the 
strange is meant characters which are unusual. Ts'ao Chu, for instance, 
has a poem which runs: 

ch'i pu yuan ssu yu 

pien hsin wu hsiung nu 
[It is not that I do not wish to make this trip, 
But my narrowed mind hates brawling.] 

Hsiung and nu are two odd and strange words, which spoil the beauty 
of the whole piece. There are other works using words even more 
odd and strange than these. How can they be looked upon without 
aversion ? 

212 Philology and Choice of Words 

By characters of the same radical is meant several characters in 
succession with one radical, that is, one half of each of their forms, 
in common. 15 In the description of mountains and rivers, such a device 
has been used in all ages. 16 But when applied to ordinary writing, the 
practice is a definite defect, because it offends our sensibilities. If it 
cannot be helped, it may be permissible for the number to grow to 
three in succession. Once it is allowed to go beyond three, is it not 
virtually a glossary? 

By repetition is meant the conflict created by the appearance of the 
same character more than once in the same poem. Such occurrences in 
the Poetry and the Li-sao are spontaneous and accidental. But in recent 
times they are considered bad taste. However, if both positions require 
the same word, it is wiser to allow the second use than to weaken the 
composition by avoiding it. Therefore, good writers who have the 
wealth of ten thousand literary pieces to their credit may sometimes 
find themselves paupers with respect to the availability of one single 
word. For at times a single word looms large, because it is difficult 
to avoid repeating it. 

Simple and complex forms refers to the plump or the bony appear- 
ance of the characters. If sentence after sentence contains a host of 
bony words, the lines will be thin and sparse, ugly to look at; if, on the 
other hand, a piece is filled with plump characters, the whole piece will 
be dark and blotted. One who can choose words well will use the 
simple and the complex in so harmonious a pattern that visually they 
will form a string of pearls. 

The four points enumerated here, although not necessarily relevant 
to all writing, must be considered on general grounds. Should one 
happen to practice them without a conscious realization of their truth, 
he has not obtained the inner understanding of the art of writing. 

15 Note 3 above lists the six lexigraphic principles, of which one is phonetic compounds. 
A phonetic compound consists of two parts, one serving as the phonetic, and one serving 
as the signific. Characters constructed on this principle are always complete structures; 
each constituent may be a radical. In the Chinese language there are 214 radicals. It is 
possible to form a sentence of several words with the same radical. 

16 That is, it is logical to use characters with the mountain radical when describing 
mountains, and characters with the water radical when describing rivers. 

Philology and Choice of Words 213 

Now Classics and old documents are often obscure and vague, and 
their wood and bamboo strips in confusion; the strips are often eaten 
by bookworms and the silk split to pieces; and many wrong characters 
creep in, in the course of three copyings. 17 Sometimes the mistake is in 
the pronunciation, sometimes in the text itself. The disciple of Tzu-ssu 18 
[quoted from the Chou-sung] : wu mu pu ssu ("Oh, it is august and 
most similar") instead of wu mu pu i ("Oh, it is august and never- 
ending"). This is a mistake in pronunciation. 19 In the historical records 
of the Chin, there is a line: san shih tu ho ["three pigs cross the river"]. 
This is a mistake in the text, 20 which should run chi-hai she ho ["on 
the date of chi-hai, cross the river"]. In the Shang-shu ta-chuan, 21 there 
is a line: pieh feng huai yu ["strange wind and torrential rain"]; but 
in the Ti-wang shih-chi 22 we have instead: lieh feng yin yii ["strong 
wind and continuous rain"]. Pieh looks like lieh, and huai looks like 
yin; hence the shift from one to the other was made unknowingly. 
Yin [as used in yin-yil, "continuous rain"] and lieh [as used in lieh 
feng, "strong wind"] are perfectly appropriate words to use, and do 
not sound strange; but huai and pieh are contrary to normal usage and 
sound strange and odd. However, Fu I, in his "Elegy" [to Prince Ching 
of Pei-hai], had already used huai yii [torrential rain]; 23 and Yiian- 

17 See Ke Hung's Pao-p'u tzu, "Hsia-lan p'ien," quoting a proverb: "When a book is 
copied three times, yii [fish] becomes lu [stupid]." These two characters look alike, and 
are easily mistaken by copyists, one for the other. Pao-p'u tzu, chiian 19, p. 97. Wood 
and bamboo strips and silk are all writing materials. 

18 Tzu-ssu was Confucius' grandson. 

19 The character originally pronounced / [ending] is mispronounced ssu (one of the 
twelve earthly branches) because it looks like the character which is pronounced ssu. 
Then this is again mistakenly changed to ssu, [similar] because of their being homopho- 
nous. The line is quoted from poem no. 267 in the Boo\ of Poetry. 

20 Tu should be she, but since they have the same meaning, they are not what con- 
cerned the author. The point here is that chi-hai, a term for a specific date, is taken 
to be san shih, meaning three pigs; the mistake was made because chi-hai, when care- 
lessly written, looks like san shih. 

21 Attributed to Fu Sheng of the Early Han. 

22 By Huang-fu Mi of the Chin, 215-282. 

23 Fragments of the elegy are found in the Ku-wen yuan, containing the line cited 
here. In his chapter on Elegy, Liu Hsieh quoted the same line. See Chapter XII above. 
But instead of huai yu (torrential rain), we find fen wu (mists and haze), showing that 
someone must have altered Liu's text. 

214 Philology and Choice of Words 

chang [or Wang Yung, 467-493] in his "Preface" employed pieh feng. 24 
Thus we know that love for the strange is a weakness common to all 
writers, both present and past. The textual lacuna has been treated 
with caution by the Sage. 25 If one is able to give up what is strange 
for what is in harmony with the normal sense, he will be in a better 
position to discuss the problem of the right choice of words. 


The Tsan: 

Chuan, the seal script, and li, the square style, influence each other; 

The lexicons Tsang-chieh and Erh-ya classify and elucidate. 

The old script and the new differ in their forms. 

They differ too in their esthetic appeal. 

> Characters easily become corrupt, 

Making the free flow of literary writing difficult. 

If both the pronunciation and the strokes of characters are clear and 


Literary patterns will dance with vigor and liveliness. 

XL. The Recondite and the Conspicuous (Yin-hsiu) 1 

The movement of our thought reaches remote distances, and literary 
feeling develops from deeply buried sources. A source which is pro- 
found permits growth in many directions, and vigorous roots foster 
conspicuous branches. In the case of the beauty of a literary composi- 
tion, it too has both conspicuous and recondite elements. The recondite 
elements are the weighty ideas beyond the expressions, and the con- 

24 Yuan-chang's "Preface" has been identified as his "Ch'ii-shui shih-hsii." 

25 See Lun-yii yin-te, 3/2/18; 32/15/26. 

1 This chapter is only a fragment. Lines quoted in a work of the Southern Sung 
period, 11 27-1 279, are not found here. An attempt was made to forge the missing 
portion, but no scholar was deceived. 

The Recondite and the Conspicuous 215 

spicuous the startling excellencies in the piece. The beauty of the 
recondite lies in its mystery, and that of the conspicuous in its startling 
transcendency. It is these which are preeminently the exquisite qualities 
of the ancient literature, and form the happy conjunction of talent 
and feeling. The recondite, as a form, suggests ideas which are beyond 
linguistic expression and are comprehended indirectly through abstruse 
overtones, which unobtrusively reveal hidden beauty. This creation 
of meaning may be compared to the practice of forming a new hexa- 
gram by realigning the lines of another, 2 or recalling how rivers contain 
pearls and jade. The realignment of the lines of a hexagram gives birth 
to the "four images," 3 and the pearls and jade in the depths of the 
water cause the formation of square and round waves. 4 

North wind moves autumn grass; 

Horses at the border think of returning home. 

These lines speak of cold weather and sad events, the lament of a 
man who finds himself exiled from home. Generally, in a volume of 
collected work, not one tenth may be considered good; and of this 
tenth scarcely two percent contains lines of startling excellence. The 
excellent and conspicuous come as the result of spontaneous thought; 
they are not to be sought by laborious effort. Furthermore, some writers 
try to appear deep by being obscure; their work may have profundity, 
but not the quality described as the recondite. Others painstakingly 
engrave and carve to attain artistry; their work may have beauty, but 
not startling excellence. Natural beauty is like that of plants lit up in the 
splendor of their blossoms, and colorful adornment may be compared 
to silk dyed red and green. The red and green of dyed silks are deep 
and, indeed, rich and fresh; and the blossoms that brighten the trees, 
whose beauty is completely exhibited on the surface, glow in blazing 

2 Take, for example, hexagram %'uei, no. 38: g|; one may form another hexagram 
by taking the second, third, and fourth lines, r_=, and the third, fourth, and fifth 
lines, =2E , to form hexagram chi-chi: jEE, which is no. 6$. 

3 See note 15, Chapter II. 

4 For this belief, see Shih-tzu, quoted in the l-wen lei-chii, chiian 8. 

216 The Recondite and the Conspicuous 

glory. In the same manner, outstanding lines glow in the garden of 

The Tsan: 
Profound literary writing contains hidden beauty 
With a flavor that is rich and enduring. 
The interlacing of the language 

May be compared to the realigning of the lines in a hexagram. 
An outstanding line 

Is the hub where are gathered the ten thousand thoughts. 
It moves the mind and startles the ears, 
With the music of a sheng or a p'ao. 5 

XLI. Literary Flaws 

Kuan Chung once said, "That which flies without wings is sound, 
and that which is firm without roots is feeling." Because sound does 
not depend on wings, it is very easy for it to fly; and because feeling 
does not depend on roots, it is not at all difficult for it to gain a firm 
footing. Since this applies particularly to literary writing, should one 
not compose with the utmost caution? 1 

Scholars have since earliest times been competitors, even though they 
may have lived in different ages. Some are endowed with outstanding 
talent, vigorous and quick; others are deeply contemplative, closely 
attentive to details. However, it is difficult to achieve perfection in 
thinking, and rarely indeed has thought ever been without flaws. The 
writing of Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao Chih] is the most talented of all, and 

5 Sheng is a musical instrument consisting of a number of pipes of different lengths. 
P'ao is also a musical instrument, made of a bottle gourd. 

1 The slightest mistake in literary writing would be broadcast without wings, and 
become firmly established in the minds of people, though without roots. Hence the 
necessity of extreme caution. 

Literary Flaws 217 

yet in his "Elegy for Emperor Wu," he said, "May his august spirit 
eternally hibernate." 2 And in his "Panegyric to Emperor Ming," he 
said, "His majesty's body flutters and is airy." 3 "Flutters" and "airy" 
connote qualities which characterize a butterfly, and "eternally hiber- 
said, "His majesty's body flutters and is airy." 3 "Flutters" and "airy" 
to apply these phrases to the most exalted of all men? 

Tso Ssu, in his "Ch'i feng," speaks of filial piety, and yet does not 
follow through properly. 4 In the light of the violation of moral prin- 
ciples involved, there is no point in paying attention to the rest of the 

P'an Yueh was particularly versed in lament. But in lamenting his 
brother-in-law, he said that he was moved by the remnant grace of the 
mouth; and in mourning the death of his son, he said that his heart 
was dazed as if in a state of doubt. 5 These phrases in the Boo\ of Rites 
are meant for people higher in status, but were applied by P'an to those 
lower in status; although the writings express well his grief, they suffer 
by the misapplication of these phrases. [In the Boo\ of Rites it is said] 
that a superior man compares people who are comparable. 6 And yet 
Ts'ui Yuan [77-142], in his "Elegy to Master Li," compared his conduct 
with that of the Yellow Emperor and Emperor Yii. 7 And Hsiang Hsiu 
[of the Chin], in his fu about Hsi [Kang, 223-262], compared Hsi's 
crime with that of Li Ssu. Although one ought rather to err in over- 
estimation than in overcondemnation, 8 if one must err at all, such com- 
parison is still like the songs which Kao Hou [of Ch'i during Chou 

2 Emperor Wu was Ts'ao Ts'ao, Ts'ao Chih's father, who, though powerful, never 
actually became emperor. The title was posthumously given him by his son Ts'ao P'ei, 
who usurped the Han throne in 221 and became the first ruler of the Wei dynasty. 

3 Emperor Ming was the second ruler of the Wei dynasty, Ts'ao P'ei's son and Ts'ao 
Chih's nephew. Both pieces are found in Ts'ao Chih's collected work: Tz'ao Tzu-chien chi. 

4 The work is lost. Liu Hsieh's text is so cryptic that without reference to the original 
work it is not possible to make it intelligible. 

5 "The remnant grace of the mouth" is used in connection with the mother {Li-chi 
yin-te, 13/24), and "as if in a state of doubt" is used in connection with the funeral 
of parents {Li-chi yin-te, 3/41; 35). 

6 Ibid., 2/18. 

7 The work is not identifiable. 

8 A reference to a saying of Ts'ai Sheng-tzu of the Chou. See Ch'un-ch'in ching-chuan 
yin-te, 312/Hsiang 26/fu 6. 

218 Literary Flaws 

times] sang, completely out of tune with the nature of the occasion. 9 
Language used with artistry easily wins applause, but there is no way 
to cover up stupid expressions. For a flaw in language may lie even 
deeper than a flaw in white jade and still be seen. 10 As it is impossible 
to give examples of all kinds, only four kinds of flaws have been men- 
tioned here. 

The factors of prime importance in literary composition are the 
choice and the meanings of words. Correct choice of words results 
from a sound grounding in philology, and clarity of meaning comes 
from a process of careful reasoning. But at the end of the Chin dynasty, 
vagueness became the order of the day. At first the following words 
were in use: shang, "to appreciate"; chi> "to be in the midst of"; ch'i, 
"the strange or extraordinary"; and chih, "to arrive," or "the ultimate"; 
and then there came into vogue fu, "to touch"; J(ou, "to knock"; ch'ou, 
"to pledge with wine"; and tso, "to pledge a host in wine." 11 Often a 
single word was used to indicate a certain feeling. Now words like 
shang, "to appreciate," hsiin, "to elucidate or admonish," hsi, "to con- 
fer," and lot, "to bestow," do not concern the understanding of the 
mind; neither do fu, "to touch," hsiin, "to admonish," chih, "to grasp," 
and wo, "to hold," have anything to do with feeling and reason. 12 I 
have not heard of any reference to these words in the ya and the sung, 
nor have I seen them used in the Han and Wei writings. The topics of 
the writings taken by themselves seem to indicate clear ideas; but a close 
study of the content reveals that it is nonsense. This is the condition 
we find when writers become pretentious in expressing their feelings, 

9 Ibid., 284/Hsiang 16/3 Tso. Kao Hou, a minister from Ch'i, sang a song at the 
diplomatic conference called by Chin. It was the general principle of the time to sing 
songs which were appropriate to the occasion. But Kao Hou selected songs which were 
not in harmony with the theme of the conference. This violation of the principle was 
taken by the Chin state to be an attempt on the part of Ch'i to challenge the leadership 
of Chin. 

10 A reference to the Boo\ of Poetry. See Mao-shih yin-te, 68/256/5: "A flaw in a 
white jade can still be ground away; a flaw in language, for that nothing can be done." 

11 It is impossible to determine the specific cases to which these refer. Suffice it to say 
that these and many others were used during the Six Dynasties period in a way too 
vague to be considered "correct" or "clear." 

12 No specific cases offer themselves to illustrate the idea our author has in mind in 
citing the use of these words. 

Literary Flaws 219 

the result of a literary trend of increasing decadence. Writers since the 
Sung [420-479] have done nothing to alter the trend; it is a literary 
habit which results from the cumulative effect of constant practice, for 
such a trend is not the work of one day. 

Recent poets are often suspicious. They are addicted to the habit 
of construing anything written to mean something obnoxious, either 
by homophonous reading or by a form of reverse spelling. 13 Such a 
practice, although it would never have been tolerated in the past, must 
be taken into consideration at the present time. 14 

When we find our writing similar to others' work, it would seem to 
be our obligation to delete it. Why plagiarize beautiful expressions as 
if they were our own creations? The precious ceremonial jade and 
grand bow of Lu will never belong to [the rebel minister Yang Hu]. 15 
Some indulge in wholesale plagiarism, "carrying away the trunk," 
and others in selected copying, "picking out of a satchel." 16 However, 
if one plagiarizes the Ancients, he will be regarded with small con- 
tempt, while if he plagiarizes his contemporaries, he is simply courting 

In writing commentaries the purpose is to explain and emend facts 
and principles. But if the author makes a mistake in his effort to do 
so, his conclusions may be completely unfounded. In [Chang Heng's] 

13 For homophonous reading, an example of a later age is perhaps the best. Once the 
first emperor of the Ming dynasty was eulogized in the following words: wei shih tso 
tse, "to be the standard of the world." But, being suspicious in nature and thinking that 
the writer was ridiculing him because he rose from the lowest level of social hierarchy, 
he read this as wei shih tso tse, "to be the thief of the world." As an example of reverse 
spelling, let me cite the following case: Jen Fang (460-508) commented upon Ho Seng- 
chih's poetry as being kao-hou, "lofty like heaven and thick or weighty like earth." 
Ho Seng-chih suddenly became enraged because, by spelling out the two words in 
reverse, instead of \ao-hou he got \ou-hao, "barking of a dog." 

14 Carelessness in this respect might involve one in painful experience, because of the 
suspicious nature of the writers of the time. 

15 A reference to Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chnan yin-te, 452/Ting 8/16. Yang Hu, a house 
minister of the House of Chi, the minister of the state of Lu. Having failed in a coup 
d'etat, Yang Hu got hold of the precious jade and grand bow, insignia conferred upon 
the Duke of Chou by King Wu, the founder of the Chou dynasty. Literary plagiarism 
is here compared to the thieving of the state insignia by a rebel minister. 

16 "Carrying away the trunk" and "picking out of a satchel" are expressions describing 
the conduct of a thief, found in Chuangtzu yin-te, 23/10/1, 2. 

220 Literary Flaws 

"Hsi-ching fu," he mentions Chung-huang, Yii, and Huo. Hsieh 
Tsung, in his comment on them, said they were eunuchs. This proves 
that Hsieh Tsung had not heard of the man who captured [a monkey 
with his left hand], while [with his right] he was trying to hit a 
variegated tiger. 17 And in the Chou-li, or "Chou institutions," in con- 
nection with land tax, there is the first use of the term p'i ma, "one 
of a pair of horses." 18 Now Ying Shao 19 explained p'i, properly "one 
of a pair," as a suitable adjective to apply to head or hooves. Can we 
call this the proper way to explain the matter? 20 According to the 
proper use of terms in ancient times, the term Hang, "a couple," is 
applied to carriages, and the term p'i, "a pair," to horses. Both p'i and 
Hang are used to express parallelism. For in the case of carriages, there 
must be a secondary carriage supporting the main carriage. And in the 
case of the horses, there are two outside horses and two inner horses. 
Since neither carriages nor horses ever go alone, either may properly 
be modified by a term implying a pair. When this purpose of giving 
terms is properly understood, then even when there is only one horse, 
the term p'i is also applied. For when we speak of p'i-fu, "one husband," 
and p'i-fu, "one wife," 21 the idea of "a pair" is implied. 22 

Now this matter of carriages and horses is certainly not of great 
profundity, yet it has been misunderstood for ages; and the art of 

17 Chung-huang [Hsia] Yii, and [Wu] Huo were men of strength and courage in 
ancient times. For Chung-huang, see Li Shang's note to Chang Heng's "Hsi-ching fu," 
and for Yii and Huo, see Chan-\uo-ts 'e (Kuo-hsueh chi-pen ts'ung-shu ed.), Vol. I, 
chiian 5, p. 40. 

18 Actually the expression occurs in Cheng Hsiian's commentary to "Hsiao-ssu t'u" in 
the Chou-li, and Cheng here was quoting from Ssu-ma fa, an ancient work on govern- 
ment and military institutions. See Chou-li (Shih-san-ching chu-shu ed., 1815), chiian 
11, p. 6b. 

19 Flourishing in the latter part of the second century, author of Feng-shu t'ung, 
explanatory notes on different categories of things. 

20 Ying Shao's Feng-shu t'ung, as it exists today, is probably not complete, for it does 
not contain the cited explanation of the term p'i. 

21 These two expressions appear exactly the same in transliteration; therefore it may 
be puzzling to the uninitiated with regard to the Chinese language. In Chinese, they 
appear in different forms, and their pronunciation is also different. Fu, meaning "hus- 
band," is the first tone, and fu, meaning "wife," the fourth. 

22 For the very terms fu and fu mutually imply each other. They would never have 
been considered as standing alone. 

Literary Flaws 221 

poetry writing is of rather intimate concern to us, and yet it has been 
the subject of enormous misconceptions; how is it possible then to 
eliminate errors when one comes to the enquiry into classical texts? 
As it is palpably absurd to explain p'i in terms of counting heads and 
hooves, or to select men of courage by drafting eunuchs, I have chosen 
to present these examples here as a warning. Paintings may glow for 
a time after they are first created, but they will inevitably fade away; 
literary work, on the other hand, shines even brighter with the passage 
of time. And if for one morning a writer is able to correct himself 
according to the proper standard, he will have nothing to be ashamed 
of in the thousand years that follow. 

The Tsan: 
I [a most accurate archer] shot [his sparrow in] the wrong [eye], 23 
And [the great horseman] Tung-yeh [Chi] failed in his horsemanship; 24 
Excellent though a man's talent is, 
He will fall if he takes an erroneous course. 
If there is one flaw in the language of a piece, 
Though one tried a thousand years, it could not be removed. 
The nearest thing to perfection 
Is for a piece to be [relatively] free from defect. 

23 I was the ruler of Yu-ch'iung tribe who usurped the throne of Hsia for a short 
time. Once, in the company of Wu Ho, he was asked to shoot the left eye of a sparrow. 
By mistake he shot its right eye. He never forgot this shame throughout his life. See 
T'ai-p'ing yii-lan, chiian 82. 

24 Chuangtzu yin-te, 50/19/59. Tung-yeh Chi came to see Duke Chuang [of Lu] 
on the recommendation of his art of driving. His movement back and forth was as straight 
as a carpenter's line, and his circle as round as a compass. Duke Chuang thought that 
not even embroidery could be more beautiful than his driving patterns. [Tung-yeh] was 
driving his horse to make a hundred turns, with the intention to come back to the 
original rut without deviation. Yen Ho met him and came in to see the duke and said 
Chi's horse would soon collapse. The duke kept silent and did not answer. In a short 
while, Chi's horse collapsed as foretold. The duke asked Yen Ho, "How did you know?" 
Yen replied, "His horse was exhausted, and yet he still drove it hard to get more out 
of it. Therefore I knew it would collapse." 

XLII. The Nourishing of Vitality 

Wang Ch'ung [of the Later Han] wrote a book on the theme of nour- 
ishing one's vitality; 1 it was based on his own personal experience, and 
not just on unfounded speculation. Ears, eyes, nose, and mouth are 
organs which serve our physical life; thinking, pondering, speech, and 
linguistic expression are functions of our spirit. When all these operate 
spontaneously, in accordance with our nature and in perfect harmony, 
the principles of things are revealed and feeling finds unobstructed 
expression. But if a man works too hard, he becomes weary in spirit 
and sapped in vitality. This is the law governing our nature and feeling. 
During the time of the Three Sovereigns, the language was simple, 
and there was no desire to embellish it. The age of the [Five] Emperors 
first witnessed the emergence of linguistic adornment, and there was 
a general emphasis on arranging the words in artistic patterns. Al- 
though this tendency to embellishment gradually grew throughout the 
period of the Three Dynasties and the Spring and Autumn period, it 
remained always in perfect accord with the inner feeling of the writers, 
showing no sign of labor forcing the natural bounds of talent. But by 
the time of the Warring States period, the emphasis had been shifted 
to sophistry, and writers were laboring to be original and to be orna- 
mental in their discourse. From Han times to the present, new ele- 
ments in literary language have been added every day, competing in 
their brilliance and in their display of colorful patterns, and involving 
an exhausting waste of mental effort. The difference between a simple, 
sound language and a sophisticated, pretentious one is so apparent that 
it can still be recognized after a lapse of a thousand years. The one 
follows the nature of the mind, and the other exhausts the feelings; 
they are ten thousand miles apart, for one is spontaneous and the other 

1 Wang Ch'ung, A.D. 27-c. 100, wrote Lun-heng (Critical essays), the last chapter of 
which is autobiographical. In this chapter is mentioned his writing on the nourishing 
of vitality in sixteen chapters, based completely on his own personal experience. See 
Lun-heng (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), p. 288. 

The Nourishing of Vitality 223 

laborious. In this we may see the reason why the Ancients were always 
leisurely and at ease, and later writers so hurried and hasty. 

It is true in general that men in their tender years are inexperienced 
but extremely ambitious, while men of age have strong convictions 
but are weak in vitality. The ambitious are quick in thought, a habit 
which relieves them of laborious effort; but the weak in vitality are 
exhaustive in their thinking, a habit which depletes their vital spirit. 
These are the general characteristics of mediocre men, phenomena 
generally expected of people of different age. 

Now a man's capacity and natural parts are limited, but he may 
work his mind without limit. There are men who are ashamed of 
their short "wild duck" legs and aspire to those of the crane: 2 they will 
force themselves to write and their minds to function. In so doing, 
they wear out the vitality within, which fades away like the feeble 
waves of a stream, or make themselves as gaunt and emaciated as the 
trees on Mount Niu. 3 In such a state of worry and anxiety, it is only 
natural for a man to soon fall victim to disease. Chung-jen [or Wang 
Ch'ung] placed [brushes and] inkstones [all over his house], so that 
he could write [his critical essays whenever he was inspired to do so] ; 
and Shu-t'ung [or Ts'ao Pao] [went to sleep] with a brush in his 
bosom, in order to devote himself wholeheartedly to his work. 4 Year 
in and year out, through all seasons they were exposed to the heat of 
anxiety, and day in and day out, at all hours they were being roasted 
over the fire of anxiety. No wonder that Master Ts'ao should express 
the concern that literary composition tends to ruin a man's life, and 
Lu Yiin should regret that over-thinking distresses the spirit: their 
opinions are by no means unfounded. 

2 The idea that man's capacity is limited but his desire to use his mind is without 
restraint is a modified version of Chuangtzu's idea that our life is limited, while the 
scope of knowledge is unbounded. See Chuangtzu yin-te, 7/3/1. The story of the wild 
duck's short legs and the crane's long ones is also from Chuangtzu. Ibid., 21/8/9-10. 

3 The last reference is to Mencius, where moral depravity is compared to the sad 
condition of the trees on Mount Niu, for they are constantly at the mercy of the axes 
and bills, and the cattle and goats. See Meng-tzu yin-te, 44/6A/8. 

4 Ts'ao Pao devoted himself to the task of continuing what Shu-sun T'ung had started 
at the beginning of the Han dynasty in formulating ceremonial rituals. See his biography 
in the Hou-han shu. 

224 The Nourishing of Vitality 

Learning requires diligence; therefore [Su Ch'in] pricked his leg 
with an awl [to keep himself awake to study]. 5 But in literary com- 
position, the purpose is to express feeling which has been repressed; 
therefore, it is necessary that the writer be able to give free vent to his 
feelings in a happy and spontaneous manner. If in the process he has 
to burn up his inner force and dry up the harmonious natural flow 
of his vitality, his writing will only serve to shorten his years and do 
violence to his nature. Could this have been the conscious purpose of 
the sages and worthies, or indeed the reason for any literary writing? 

Furthermore, sometimes we are sharp and sometimes dull in think- 
ing; and there are moments when we are inspired and also moments 
when all our senses seem to be clogged. "When one is washing his 
hair, his heart [the seat of his reason] is out of position," and the result 
is abnormal thinking. 6 Similarly and with greater cogency, when one's 
spirit is overcome by darkness, the more it is spurred on, the more 
benighted it becomes. Therefore, in the art of literary writing, temper- 
ance and readiness for expression are of prime importance: that is, it 
is essential to keep the mind pure and tranquil so that its vitality may 
find spontaneous expression. As soon as one feels vexed, he should 
immediately give up thinking, so as not to let his mind become 
choked. When inspired, give vent to your heart and entrust it to the 
brush; but when ideas hide themselves, put the brush down and fold 
up your mind. A pleasant trip is a sure cure for weariness, and talk and 
laughter will bring restoration from fatigue. One should always try 
the sharpness of his talent in leisure, and spur on his literary courage 

5 I am adopting the reading of Wen-hsin tiao-lung hsin-shu, edited by Wang Li-ch'i 
(Peking, 1951), in omitting two lines, the forgery of one of which is apparent, because 
of the anachronism in its reference. Su Ch'in of the Warring States period drove himself 
to study and pricked himself with an awl to keep awake. 

6 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 123/Hsi 24/Tso fu 1: "T'ou Hsu, a former 
attendant of the Duke of Chin, . . . requested an audience. The duke refused to see 
him because he was washing his hair. [T'ou-hsii] told his followers, 'When one is 
washing his hair, his heart is out of position, and this will make him think in a way 
contrary to the normal manner. It is natural that the duke will not see me.' " Note that 
ancient Chinese were good Aristotelian psychologists, for they also believed that the 
function of thinking belongs to the heart. Liu Hsieh cited the story to illustrate this 
point that there are moments when, due to circumstances such as this, the thinking 
may not be normal. In such moments, it is best not to force the heart to think. 

Organization 225 

when there is plenty of surplus energy, so that his knife may ever 
be as sharp as one newly honed, 7 and the circulation of the air [i.e., 
oxygen] through the veins to his muscles may be unobstructed. 8 Al- 
though this method of achieving refreshment may not achieve the 
results obtained by the art of breath control, 9 it is one way to protect 
our vitality. 

The Tsan: 
The world is filled with ten thousand things in confusion; 
It is a very laborious task to think of even a thousand of them. 
So it is imperative to preserve our inner spirit, 
And nourish our native vitality. 
Water shines because of its tranquility, 
And fire brightens when it burns quietly. 
Never overtax your literary thought, 
But always keep the spirit fresh. 

XLIII. Organization (Fu-hui) 1 

What is the meaning of fu-hui? It means a comprehensive view of a 
literary piece as a whole with respect to both its language and its ideas; 
it provides an underlying principle to unify all its parts, it defines the 
conditions governing what should be included and what excluded, and 
works elements from all the various fields into harmony; in short, it 

7 One's vitality is compared to the knife of the butcher in the Chuangtzu, and it may 
be kept ever sharp by not forcing it, just as the butcher kept his knife sharp by a perfect 
knowledge of the physiology of the bull, a knowledge which enabled him to send 
his knife through the body without encountering obstruction. See Chuangtzu yin-te, 

8 See Huangti nei-ching su-wen, "Chii-t'ung lun." 

9 A Taoist method to achieve immortality by means of internal alchemy. 

1 Fu-hui is an abbreviation of ju-tz'u hui-i, to give order to linguistic elements and 
unity to ideas. Thus, the chapter deals with the organizational principles of a literary 

226 Organization 

organizes the whole piece in such a way that, though composed of a 
variety of elements, it will not as a whole fall short of the proper 
standard. It may be compared to the role of the foundation in the build- 
ing of a house and the tailor's pattern in the making of a dress, both 
necessary in their respective fields. When a child starts to learn the art 
of writing, he must first be taught correct organization: it consists of 
feeling and ideas as the soul, of facts and meaning as the bone and 
marrow, of linguistic patterns as the musculature and integument, and 
of \ung and shang, that is, the resonance of the language, as its voice 
and breath. Only after he has learned this is he able to evaluate black 
and yellow, 2 to ring out the sonorous tones of metal and jade, 3 to offer 
what is appropriate and advise against what is not, and thus to reach 
what is considered the mean. 4 For it is in fu-hui that we find the lasting 
principle for the organization of thought. 

In general, a literary composition has [like a tree] its branches and 
[like a stream] its forks. To arrange the forks and branches in order, 
one must follow the implications of the spring and the trunk. Simi- 
larly, in bringing order and unity into linguistic elements and ideas, 
one must have a comprehensive principle, by means of which he will 
be able to achieve his goal by ten thousand different routes, and give 
coherence to one hundred different kinds of ideas, so that, for all the 
variety of ideas, there will be no misplacement of emphasis and, for 
all the different linguistic elements, there will be no confusion; like 
a tree, he will be able to send out some shoots to meet the sunshine 
and keep in reserve others which remain in the shade. In this way he 
will achieve a close-knit organization from beginning to end, which 
manifests a unity of external and inner elements. These achievements 
constitute the art of fu-hui, or organization. 

The painter who pays close attention to a hair misses the portrait, 

2 See note 2, Chapter I. In Chapter XXXI, this is called hsing-wen, the color pattern. 

3 The sound pattern, second of the three main patterns mentioned in Chapter XXXI. 

4 Liu Hsieh, in a pithy sentence, may have expressed the four main functions which 
a literary piece may serve: philosophical, ceremonial, as memorials, and as a necessary 
tool for the running of government. 

Organization 227 

and the archer who aims at the very small misses the wall. 5 Preoccu- 
pation with the fine and small naturally involves looseness in the gen- 
eral structure of the whole. Therefore, we should bend an inch to make 
a foot straight, and bend a foot to straighten up eight; 6 in short, we 
should give up the one-sided cleverness to gain the beauty that is 
all-encompassing. This is the general principle governing the planning 
of a literary composition. 

There is no one definite way in which a composition may be de- 
veloped, and opinions about development are rather confused. To be 
too terse in treatment leaves the ideas isolated, but to attempt too 
broad a treatment results in a verbal monstrosity; to be too straight- 
forward will most certainly involve many mistakes, and yet to be too 
consistently tentative will also do harm to the composition. Further- 
more, people differ in their natural talents and gifts, and in their ways 
of thinking. Some plan their compositions from beginning to end as 
a whole, and some compose piecemeal, adding at one time a foot and at 
another an inch. But there are few indeed who make over-all plans, in 
comparison with the many who use the piecemeal method. Now if the 
writer loses sight of the general principle, his language will become 
confused; and if his ideas are not logically developed, his style will 
seem dry and lifeless. Only on the basis of a transcendent knowledge 
of the structural principle of the whole will he be able to achieve among 
the different parts of his composition a harmonious cohesion as spon- 
taneous as that of glue to wood, or stone to the jade which it contains. 
Just as a team of four chargers may differ in their strength, while their 
six reins operate like the strings of one lute and they proceed abreast 
in a formation as perfect as that of the spokes gathering at one hub, 
so in a literary composition a similar method of control must be exercised. 
Whether to proceed or to stop is under the control of the mind, as 
whether to loose the reins or tighten them is under the guidance of 

5 This is a quotation from the Lii-shih ch'iin-ch'iu (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), chiian 
25, p. 324, with the order of the two lines reversed; the original being, "An archer who 
aims at the minute misses the wall, and a painter who pays close attention to a hair 
misses the portrait." 

6 See Meng-tzu yin-te, 22/3B/1. Hsiin means eight feet. 

228 Organization 

the hands; for all that is necessary to insure the desired uniform pace 
is to control the reins. 

Therefore, in the hands of those who are good at organization, even 
ideas which differ may be given as close a relationship as the liver and 
the gall; and in the hands of those who are poor at organization, even 
tones of the same quality will seem as vastly different as Hu and Yiieh. 7 
It is more difficult to revise an existing composition than to write a 
new one, and it is more difficult to change already written words than 
to write a new sentence. This has been proved by the experience of 
writers of the past. Chang T'ang [of the Han] at one time had his 
memorial twice rejected, and Yii Sung [of the Wei] was repeatedly 
rebuked because of his; in each case, the reason for the writer's mis- 
fortune lies in the fact that his reasoning is not clear and he is confused 
in his language and ideas. However, after Ni K'uan had revised Chang 
T'ang's memorial and Chung Hui had changed a few words in Yii 
Sung's, Emperor Wu was amazed by the extraordinary quality of 
Chang's memorial, and Emperor Ching of the Chin 8 highly praised 
that of Yii. This was because the revised pieces are logical in reasoning 
and clear in presenting facts, and the revisers are quick-witted, and 
use appropriate language. 9 In these examples we see the vast difference 
between those writers who are clever at organization and those who 
are clumsy. 

As to stopping the brush and bringing a passage to a close, it is like 
raising the oar while riding in a boat; and fitting expressions to ideas 
is like drawing on the reins while using the whip. A writer who can 
sustain the merits of his piece to the end achieves the expression of 

7 "Liver and gall" is a figure for intimate relationship and similarity, and "Hu and 
Yiieh" for great difference. Hu and Yiieh are two barbarian districts. These figures are 
taken from the Chuangtzu. See Chuangtzu yin-te, 12/5/7: "From the point of view of 
the different, even the liver and gall would be like Ch'u and Yiieh." Ch'u, a state which 
was as different from Yiieh as could be imagined, is changed to Hu by Liu Hsieh, with 
no appreciable difference in sense. 

8 Ssu-ma Shih, given the posthumous title of Emperor Ching when his nephew Ssu-ma 
Yen usurped the throne of the Wei in 265 and created the Chin dynasty. 

9 For Chang and Ni, see the biography of Ni K'uan in the Han-shw, for Yii and 
Chung, see commentary to the biography of Chung Hui in the Wei-chih. 

Discussion on the Art of Writing 229 

profound ideas and a smooth-flowing, complete development of the 
style. 10 On the other hand, if a piece starts with a glorious tune and 
continues with weak and spiritless passages, it will tend to suffocate, 
unable to let its wind out fully. This is what the Boo\ of Changes means 
by "There is no skin on his thighs, and walking comes hard." 11 If the 
beginning and end of a piece can complement each other fully, even 
the art of fu-hui cannot ask for anything more. 

The Tsan: 
If a general principle underlies the different parts of a piece, 
And feeling is rich and ordered; 
If it is well begun and well concluded, 
The branches well laid out and the leaves spread well, 
Then the piece will have an artistic harmony, 
All the loose threads will be gathered up 
And, like harmony in music, 
The sounds of the mind will blend perfectly. 

XLIV. Discussion on the Art of Writing (Tsung-shu) 

We find current at present a statement to the effect that literary writ- 
ings may be classified under two separate categories: wen, or pat- 
terned, and pi, or unpatterned prose, unrhymed writing being pi and 
rhymed writing wen} Now pattern simply adds to the adequacy of 
yen, that is, plain words, and generally includes both the Poetry and 
the History. The effort to make them two different categories dates 

10 The text is somewhat corrupt. I follow Fan Wen-lan's reading, and accept at the 
same time suggestions from Wang's reading in my interpretation. 
11 1-ching, I, 180, 184. See also Chon-i yin-te, 27/43/4, 2 7/44/3- 
1 For the meaning of wen, see note 1, Chapter I. Pi means a brush, symbolic of a 
prosaic writing which is unrhymed. The term "rhyme" may mean only tonal arrange- 
ment in general, and need not be taken to mean a correspondence of sounds in the final 
syllable or syllables of two or more words. 

230 Discussion on the Art of Writing 

back only a short time. For example, Yen Yen-nien [or Yen-chih, 384- 
456] believed that pi as a genre is yen with pattern, 2 that is, that all 
Classics are yen and not pi, while their commentaries are pi and not 
yen. 3 We may easily use Yen's own spear to pierce his shield. 4 How? 
Take the "Wen-yen" 5 in the Boo\ of Changes, for example: is it not 
words with pattern ? If, according to Yen, pi is really yen with pattern, 
then he has no right to say that the Classics are not pu In making the 
above statements, Yen intends to establish a theory of his own; but I 
do not see how it can stand. 

In my opinion, oral statements are plain words, and whenever these 
are committed to the brush, they are literary writings. And the Way 
which is constant is called a Classic, while that which elucidates the 
Classic is known as a commentary. The words [of the sages] com- 
mitted to the brush form the Classics and their commentaries. The 
brush is at the service of the words, and may be either vigorous or 
weak. The eternal validity of the six Classics lies in their severe ele- 
gance and profundity, rather than in their literary qualities. The 
Wen-fu of Master Lu [Chi] has been known for its penetrating and 
exhaustive discussion of the art of writing but, in its superficial atten- 
tion to details, it has not adequately dealt with the substance. For we 
know that if one is able to return to the constant Way in all his many 6 
changing situations, he will never be exhausted; and it is difficult to 
be perfect in the choice of good words. 7 

Those who are intensely interested in literary composition often vie 
with one another in creating new and elegant phrases. Most of them 

2 Literally, yen with wen. 

3 Yen's statements are not found in his collected work. He is making a distinction 
between three categories: yen, plain words; pi, words with pattern but without rhyme; 
and wen, writing which is rhymed. In discussing the Classics and their commentaries, 
only the first two categories are relevant. 

4 For the use of "spear" and "shield" to mean contradiction, see note 5, Chapter XXX. 

5 See note 11, Chapter I. 

6 Literally, "nine changes," "nine" used to mean "many." 

7 This last statement is quoted from the "Wu-ti chi" in the Han-shu, which quotes 
it from "Poetry," presumably the Book, of Poetry. According to Ying Shao, the com- 
mentator, this refers to a lost poem of the Boo\ of Poetry. The latter part of the state- 
ment is aimed at the imperfect work of Lu Chi. 

Discussion on the Art of Writing 231 

are obsessed with the desire to refine their linguistic expressions, but 
none wish to attend to the fundamentals of the art. As a result, bril- 
liant jade is often lost in a pile of rocks, while common stones take on 
the appearance of jade. A penetrating mind is concise and brief, yet 
a mind that is lacking in scholarship is also parsimonious of words; 
the erudite mind is comprehensive in scope, but the confused mind is 
just as long-winded; the logical mind is clear and transparent, but 
the mind which is shallow may be just as unreserved; and the pro- 
found mind is rich in connotation and difficult to fathom, but the mind 
which is merely pretentious may also sound impressively archaic. 
Sometimes splendid ideas are expressed in sounds which are somber 
and feeble; sometimes unreasonable arguments are clothed in brilliant 
language. From such circumstances we know how difficult it is to make 
the tones of bells harmonious, and how far from easy it is to tune a lute. 
Now the sizes of the bells which musicians declare to be in harmony 
need not be absolutely exact; neither need the operation of the fan 
be of exactly the same pitch from beginning to end. 8 And Wei-wen 
[or Ts'ao P'ei], in his comparison of literary writing to music, is amply 
borne out. The point is that, as before applying the blade of a knife 
to knotted roots, we cannot prove the sharpness of the knife, likewise, 
before we make an effort to discover the secret of good literary compo- 
sition, there is no way to determine whether a given talent is truly 
comprehensive. To be comprehensive, the writer must be versed in 
the art. If he lacks either a comprehensive view of his field or the 
penetration necessary to make its structure articulate, how can he 
possibly harness his inner feeling for the triumphant drive through 
the garden of literature? 

Therefore, when one plies this art as the rein with which he guides 
his composition, he may be likened to a good chess player who knows 
his moves and the inevitable results of them. But the one who abandons 
the art for the whims of his own mind is like a gambler whose success 
is a matter of luck. The gambler's writing may be clever accidentally; 

8 The operation of the fan seems to refer to the tuning of a lute, the fan being some 
part of it. However, the meaning is not clear, and the allusion has not been identified. 

232 Discussion on the Art of Writing 

but although his initial effort may be successful, it is difficult to count 
on his being able to continue with any consistent competency. He is 
unable to go on writing when he has little to write about; and he will 
also be baffled by the problem of selecting and omitting when he is 
confronted with too much material. If he is unable to overcome the 
difficulty of having either too much or too little material, how can 
he be expected to be able to distinguish between the beautiful and the 
ugly ? The man who writes as a good chess player plays follows definite 
principles of the art. He moves in an orderly fashion according to 
certain patterns as he responds to emotions, making timely answers to 
varying circumstances; in a word, he moves in perfect harmony with 
the proper standard. If a writer's movement is perfectly matched to 
the exact requirements of each situation, his natural responsiveness 
to the working of the mysterious spring will find expression in the 
excellence of his work. In the work of such a writer we shall find 
galloping in parade like spirited chargers a host of brilliant ideas, and 
a clustering galaxy of exquisite expressions. To the eyes, it is brocade 
or painting; to the ears, sonorous music; it is sweet and mellow in 
taste, and fragrant as scented pendants. 9 In these achievements, one 
reaches the pinnacle of literary writing. 

The legs of a thoroughbred may be strong, but it will not be able to 
cover one thousand li if the cords are too long. The length of the cords 
is only one factor among ten thousand, and yet it is enough to cause 
failure. 10 How much more surely will this principle operate in the 
case of the literary composition, where also many factors must work 
in perfect harmony; for here the slightest weakness in any one of them 
will most certainly cause the collapse of the whole. For this reason, I 
have given consideration to all these factors in this chapter, to prepare 
the student for all eventualities. This chapter is like the hub where the 
thirty spokes converge. The view given may not be worthy of atten- 
tion, but it is my honest view. 

9 Referring to fragrant flowers used as pendants. 

10 Chan-kiio ts'e (Taipei, Kuo-hsiieh chi-pen ts'ung-shu ed.) Vol. 3, chiian 28, 
Han 3, p. 54. 

Literary Development and Time 233 

The Tsan: 
In the literary arena or the garden of brushes, 
There are ways and gates. 

First attention should be given to the fundamental thing, 
And one's observation must penetrate to the source. 
By the control of the first principle one controls the ten thousand, 
And by harnessing the essential element one harnesses all the details. 
Thinking may not have a fixed form, 
But the reason is absolutely constant. 

XLV. Literary Development and Time (Shih-hsu) 1 

As time has passed and as dynasties have risen and fallen, literature 
has developed from the simple to the more ornate in form as well as 
in content. It is possible to trace this development of feeling and ideas 
from the earliest times to the present. 

During the time of T'ao-t'ang, that is, the legendary ruler, whose 
virtue was great and whose influence was wide, country elders spoke 
of his effortless government and children sang of how his guiding 
influence was not consciously felt by the people. 2 When Yu-yii Shun, 
another legendary ruler who came after Yao, succeeded to the rule, 

1 In this chapter, Liu Hsieh treats of a literary principle which was first enunciated 
in the "Great and Lesser Prefaces" to the Boo\ of Poetry. In substance the theory is: 
The literary forms and contents of each generation conform to the spirit of that genera- 
tion and, when changes take place in the spirit of an age, the literary forms and 
contents are modified accordingly. Liu Hsieh emphasizes particularly the moral and 
political influence of an age on the character of literature. 

2 In Wang Ch'ung's Lun-heng (Critical essays), Lun-heng t'ung-chien, 8/13D, we 
find the following quotation: "During the time of Yao, peace prevailed. Elders of fifty 
years of age played games on the street. Spectators said, 'Great is the virtue of Yao.' The 
elders said, 'We start working at sunrise and retire at sunset, dig wells to get our drink 
and till land to get our food. What has the effort of Yao to do with us?'" In the 
Lieh-tzu, chiian 4, Chapter 4, p. 49, we have the following children's song: "In estab- 
lishing the people [he, the ruler] allows every one to develop to his full capacity. 
Without consciousness and without knowledge, they spontaneously follow the law of 
the lord." 

234 Literary Development and Time 

the government was good and the people lived an easy life; the ruler 
composed the song "Hsiin-feng," 3 and the ministers the song "Lan- 
yiin." 4 Both of these songs are extremely beautiful. Why ? Because when 
one is happy at heart, his voice will be peaceful. 

In the time of Great Yii, the land was divided so that the inundation 
might be easily controlled, and there were songs telling of his nine 
regulated accomplishments. 5 

Ch'eng-t'ang was sage and reverent, and his achievements were sung 
in the "I-yii" sung. 6 At the time of King Wen, 7 because of the great 
virtue of Chi, 8 the "Chou-nan" lyrics 9 expressed the hard-working 
spirit of the people without betraying any trace of complaint. And the 
influence of T'ai-wang 10 was so beneficial that the songs collected 
from Pin 11 show an enjoyment of life which does not indulge in 
excesses. But during the dark years of King Yu [781-771 B.C.] and 
King Li [879-842 B.C.] the poems "Pan" 12 and "Tang" 13 express the 
anger of the people. As King P'ing [770-720 B.C.] suffered a period 
of decline, 14 we have the poem "Shu-li," 15 which expresses sadness 
[over the desolation of the old capital]. From these we know that folk 
songs and their contents change with the changing times and, when 
the wind moves on the surface, waves are whipped up down below. 

3 Also known as "Nan-feng." See note 10, Chapter VI. 

4 The song is given in Shang-shu ta-chuan. Modern scholars tend to question its 

5 See note 18, Chapter I. 

6 No. 301 in the Book, of Poetry. For sung as one of the six elements in Poetry, see 
note 2, Chapter V. 

7 Father of King Wu, who established the Chou dynasty. 

8 The surname of King Wen. 

9 The first eleven poems in the Book °f Poetry, collected from a region south of Chou, 
where King Wen's influence was felt. 

10 Grandfather of King Wen. 

11 Pin was the place where T'ai-wang made his influence felt, and the collection 
includes poems 154 to 160 in the Book °f Poetry. 

12 Poem no. 254, complaining about the misery under the rule of King Li. 

13 Poem no. 255, directing warnings to King Li concerning his corrupt rule. Both 
poems were directed toward King Li but, since Yu and Li had always been mentioned 
together, by force of habit Liu Hsieh strings them together. 

14 King P'ing was forced to move his capital to Lo-i, the present Lo-yang, under the 
pressure of the western tribes. 

15 Poem no. 65. 

Literary Development and Time 235 

After the Spring and Autumn period, the states warred among 
themselves for distinction. The Six Classics hid themselves in the mud 
like dragons 16 and the hundred thinkers arose like gusts of wind. At 
this time, Han and Wei gave all their attention to strengthening their 
rule, Yen and Chao made expediency their principle, and the "Wu-tu" 
and "Liu-shih" 17 formed the content of the stringent code of Ch'in. 
Ch'i and Ch'u were the only states in which there was any emphasis 
on literature. In Ch'i residences were built along the main avenue to 
house scholars, and Ch'u enlarged the palace of Lan-t'ai to receive men 
of letters. Mencius was treated as a guest minister [in Ch'i] and Hsiin- 
ch'ing [or Hsiintzu] was made the magistrate of a district [in Ch'u]. 
So it was at the Chi-hsia gate [in Ch'i, where scholars gathered] that 
this pure wind received its fanning, and in Lan-ling [the magistracy 
of Hsiintzu], that [this plant] enjoyed its luxuriant growth. [In Ch'i] 
Tsou-tzu [or Tsou Yen] became famous because of his discourse on 
heaven, and the name of Tsou Shih rang far and wide on account of 
his dragon carving. [In Ch'u] the poetry of Ch'u P'ing [or Yuan] 
was as brilliant as the sun and the moon, and Sung Yii's writing was 
as colorful as the clouds before the wind. A study of their beautiful 
writing reveals that it has the grace of the ya and the sung. And the 
glow and dazzle of their extraordinary thought is thus the result of 
the impressive success won by the people in the political practice of 
vertical federation and horizontal alliance. 18 

The Han dynasty succeeded the [Ch'in], the latter being the dynasty 
during which books were consigned to the flames. Kao-tsu [the first 
emperor, 206-195 B.C.] stressed military affairs; he ridiculed scholars, 
and paid no attention to learning. Although the first step in the estab- 
lishment of ritual and the codification of law was taken, no attempt 
was made to make the Poetry and History objects of serious study. 

16 Dragons are expected to be flying in the sky, their natural habitat. But there are 
times when, under adverse circumstances, they have to hide themselves in the mud. 
Pan Ku used the figure in his "Ta ping hsi." See Wen-hsiian, chiian 45, lib. 

17 The "Wu-tu" is Chapter 49 in Han-jei-tzu, and the "Liu-shih" ("six lice," or six 
harmful things) are mentioned in Chapters 4 and 20 in The Boo/{ of Lord Shang. Since 
Han and Lord Shang are legalists, these two expressions are used to mean legalism. 

18 See note 26, Chapter XVIII. 

236 Literary Development and Time 

However, Kaotsu's songs, "Ta-feng" and "Hung-ku," may be con- 
sidered the works of a genius. 19 

From Emperor Hui [194-188 B.C.] to Emperors Wen [179-157 B.C.] 
and Ching [156-141 B.C.], classical study was in the ascendant, and 
poets went into eclipse. This may be seen from the frustration of Chia I 
and the disappointment of Tsou [Yang] and Mei [Sheng]. 20 

Emperor Wu [140-87 B.C.] showed great respect for scholars, and 
offered enthusiastic encouragement to the pursuit of learning. During 
his reign rites and music vied with each other in brilliance, and schol- 
ars competed in literary production. In the Tower of Po-liang, he 
initiated [the "round robin" type] of poetry with feasting as its theme; 21 
at the break of the river dike, he expressed his concern about the people 
in a poem; he sent a carriage with rush-cushioned wheels for Mei 
Sheng, and allowed Chu-fu Yen to fulfil his ambition to eat from 
a tripod. 22 He elevated Kung-sun [Hung] to the top on account of his 
tui-tse, 23 and expressed admiration for the memorial drafted by Ni 
K'uan. [Chu] Mai-ch'en, a wood carrier, became a wearer of the 
brocaded robe of an official, and [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju, who washed 
dishes, was also clothed in embroidery. [Ssu-ma] Ch'ien, the historian, 
[Wu-ch'iu] Shou-wang, Yen [An], Chung [Chiin], Mei Kao, and 
their group were not only not narrowly limited in their responses to 
the imperial questions, but were also ever resourceful in their strictly 
literary production. The strong literary enthusiasm and beauty of 
expression they manifested have never been equalled since their time. 

Subsequently, Emperor Chao [86-74 B.C.] and Emperor Hsiian 
[73-49 B.C.] continued the trend which had been initiated by Emperor 
Wu. Scholars argued and discussed 24 [the problems of the Classics] in 

19 The "Ta-feng" song is found in his chronicle in Shih-chi, and the "Hung-ku" song 
in the biography of Liu-hou, i.e., Chang Liang. 

20 See their respective biographies in the Han-shu. 

21 See note 20, Chapter VI. 

22 For Mei and Chu-fu, see their respective biographies in the Han-shu. Eating from 
a tripod is a symbol of honored status in the officialdom. 

23 See Chapter XXIV above, "Discussion and Answer." Kung-sun's tui-ts'e is found 
in his biography in the Han-shu. 

24 Literally, "galloped." 

Literary Development and Time 237 

the Shih-ch'ii palace [in 51 B.C.], 25 and met for literary purposes in 
their leisure time. Gathered together were the great talents of the time, 
forging striking metaphors in patterns of silk. At this time, Wang Pao 
and his group attained positions of honor as literary advisers to the 
imperial court. Emperor Yuan [48-33 B.C.] and Emperor Ch'eng 
[32-7 B.C.] paid great attention to charts and books, extolling learned 
talk about jade powder, 26 and clearing the way that led to the Chin-ma 
gate. 27 At that time Tzu-yiin [or Yang Hsiung] won his reputation 
for perspicacity through his ability to recite one thousand /#, and 
Tzu-cheng [or Liu Hsiang] was given the charge of editing and 
collating the texts of the Six Classics — an achievement which may be 
considered a fit object of our admiration. 

From the beginning of the Han dynasty to the reigns of Emperors 
Ch'eng and Ai [6-1 B.C.], although the world had seen the passing of 
over a hundred years, 28 and there had been many 29 developments in 
poetic style, the leading trend was to imitate the style of the Ch'u-tz'u. 
The lingering influence of Ling-chun [or Ch'ii Yuan] is still evi- 
dent here. 

From the decline during the reigns of Emperors Ai and P'ing 
[A.D. 1-5] to the restoration of Emperor Kuang-wu [A.D. 25-57], 
great attention was paid to the maps and apocrypha; 30 consequently, 
literature was more or less neglected. However, Tu Tu won pardon 
for himself with his lei, 31 and Pan Piao received appointment as a 
magistrate because of his memorials. So although [Kuang-wu] did 
not go out of the way to enlist scholars, neither did he completely for- 

25 See Chapter XVIII above. 

26 In Wang Ch'ung's Lun-heng, the term "yii-hsieh" (jade powder) is used to mean 
"miscellaneous literary bits, not worthy of attention." See Lun-heng (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng 
ed.), p. 276. Here the term seems to mean just literary production. 

27 Where literary men were housed, ready to answer the imperial call. 

28 Actually, it was more than two hundred years. Chinese literary men have never 
been exact in figures. 

29 Literally, "nine changes." For the meaning of "nine," see note 6, Chapter XLIV. 

30 See Chapter IV above, "Emendation of Apocrypha." 

31 Tu Tu was thrown into prison on account of his bad conduct. Emperor Kuang-wu 
pardoned him when he submitted a brilliant elegy in memory of the great Ssu-ma 
Wu Han. 

238 Literary Development and Time 

sake them. The twin luminaries, Emperor Ming [A.D. 58-75] and 
Emperor Chang [A.D. 76-88] had great respect and love for scholars 
and their learning. [Emperor Ming] discoursed on rites in Pi-t'ang 32 
[in A.D. 59] and [Emperor Chang] held discussions on the Classics in 
Pai-hu hall [in A.D. 79]. Wearing his brush [in his cap], Meng-chien 
[or Pan Ku, during the reign of Emperor Ming] took part in pre- 
paring the history of the dynasty; 33 and [during the reign of the same 
emperor] Chia K'uei was given brush and paper to draft a sung on 
the occasion of the auspicious appearance [of divine sparrows in the 
palaces]. 34 Prince Tung-p'ing [or Ts'ang] distinguished himself with 
his elegant writing [on rites], and Prince P'ei [or Fu] made the gen- 
eral principles of the [Classics] the living issue of the day. The rituals 
of the imperial court 35 and the protocol concerning the foreign tribes 36 
illumined each other with their respective brilliance. 

During the period between Ho-An [Emperor Ho, A.D. 89-105, and 
Emperor An, A.D. 107-125] 37 and Shun-Huan [Emperor Shun, A.D. 
126-144, and Emperor Huan, A.D. 147-167] 38 there rose Pan [Ku], 
Fu [I], the Three Ts'ui, 39 Wang [Ch'ung], Ma [Yung], Chang [Heng] 
and Ts'ai [Yung], who may all be considered brilliant scholars; there 
was no lack of talent. But as to literary pieces of high quality, we must 
reserve our judgment. After the restoration [of the Han by Emperor 
Kuang-wu], talented writers more or less modified the traditional 
custom and, by emphasizing both the flower and the fruit, they resorted 
to classical expressions. For after a number of classical discussions under 
past reigns, a scholarly classical attitude gradually prevailed. 

32 Pi, a round jade with a hole in the center, is a symbol of heaven. Pi-t'ang is a 
heavenly hall, also known as Ming-t'ang, one of three halls completed in A.D. 59. 

33 Wearing the brush in one's cap is a figure for a historian, who appeared in court 
with a brush in his cap, ready to record happenings at court. 

34 See the biography of Chia K'uei in the Hou-han shu. 

35 This refers to the rituals discussed by Emperor Ming and those devised by Prince 
Tung-P'ing. See Prince Tung-P'ing's biography in the Hou-han shu. 

36 This refers to the ode written by Chia K'uei on the gathering of the divine spar- 
rows, for the latter was considered an omen for the prevailing of China's influence abroad. 

37 Omitting Emperor Shang, who ruled for a short time in A.D. 106. 

38 Omitting Emperor Ch'ung, who ruled for a short time in A.D. 145, and Emperor 
Chih, who ruled in A.D. 146. 

39 Ts'ui Yin the father, Ts'ui Yuan the son, and Ts'ui Shih the grandson. 

Literary Development and Time 239 

Emperor Ling [A.D. 168-219] occasionally indulged in literary 
creation. He wrote Hsi-huang p'ien, opening the way for scholars to 
gather together at the Hung-tu gate to write fu. Yiieh Sung and his 
group gathered together men of shallow learning and vulgar taste, 
whom Yang Ssu called Huan Tou 40 [after an upstart minister of that 
name], and Ts'ai Yung compared to actors and jesters. 41 The trend 
they created and the works they produced are not worthy of our 

During the reign of Emperor Hsien [A.D. 190-220], who was con- 
stantly forced to move from one place to another, 42 the fate of literary 
men was like that of dishevelled grasses tossed about by a furious wind. 
Only at the end of the Chien-an period [A.D. 196-220] was there any 
semblance of peace. Emperor Wu of the Wei, 43 who was then a prince 
and prime minister, had a deep love for poetry; Emperor Wen [or 
Ts'ao P'ei], who was then the heir apparent, was himself versed in tz'u 
and fu; and Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao Chih], who was the son of a prince, 
wielded a brush whose style was as brilliant as the sonorous jade. 
These three, important as their positions were, all showed great respect 
for others who had outstanding literary talent. Hence many talented 
writers gathered around them like vapors and clouds. Chung-hsuan 
[or Wang Ts'an] swore allegiance at Han-nan [in the present Hu-pei], 
K'ung-chang [or Ch'en Lin] submitted himself at Ho-pei, Wei-ch'ang 
[or Hsu Kan] joined the entourage at Ch'ing-t'u, and Kung Kan 
[or Liu Chen] enlisted for service at Hai-yii. And here Te-lien [or 
Ying Yang] organized his literary thought, and Yuan-yu [or Juan Yii] 
enjoyed his art of letter writing. Wen-wei [or Lu Ts'ui], Hsiu-po [or 
Po Ch'in], Tzu-shu [or Han-tan Ch'un], Te-tsu [or Yang Hsiu] and 
their group, goblets in hand, proudly showed their elegant style and, 
moving with leisurely grace while they feasted, formed songs with a 

40 See Yang's biography in the Hou-han shu. Huan Tou was one of the unruly 
ministers during the reign of Yao and Shun. 

41 Hou-han shu, biography of Ts'ai Yung. 

42 Between A.D. 190, when Emperor Hsien ascended to the throne, and A.D. 196, 
he was forced to move five times. 

43 See note 2, Chapter XLI. 

240 Literary Development and Time 

swing of the brush, and out of the well-ground ink created witty pieces 
which served as subjects of talk and laughter. An examination of their 
writings reveals that most of them are full of feeling. This is because 
they lived in a world marked by disorder and separation, and at a time 
when morals declined and the people were complaining; they felt all 
this deeply in their hearts, and this feeling was expressed in a style 
which is moving. For this reason their works are full of feeling and life. 

During the reign of Emperor Ming [227-239] the emperor himself 
wrote poetry and composed musical scores. He collected writers and 
housed them in the Ts'ung-wen kuan monastery. Here Ho [Yen], 
Liu [Shao], and other literary men vied to outshine one another. 
Among the young rulers who succeeded Ming, Kao-kuei [hsiang-kung, 
or Mao, 254-260] alone was a man of refinement and grace; his very 
glance conveyed an impression of literary elegance, and the words he 
uttered formed perfect essays. The period was still under the lingering 
influence of the Cheng-shih period, so that we find the works light and 
detached. 44 In this period we find Hsi [K'ang], Juan [Chi], Ying 
[Chu], and Miu [Hsi] galloping abreast on the thoroughfare of 

During the Chin dynasty, Emperor Hsiian began to build the 
foundation of the dynasty; Emperor Wen and Emperor Ching, who 
followed, strengthened the structure. 45 During their times scholars and 
poets were in eclipse, as the rulers were deeply interested in pursuing 
political intrigues. When Emperor Wu [265-306] created the new 
Chin dynasty, he received the mandate of heaven at a time of peace. 
But he had never been concerned with literary creation. Later, both 

44 Cheng-shih, 240-248, is a period characterized by discussions of the Tao of Taoism, 
under the impact of Buddhism. Metaphysics, which had not been the main interest of 
Chinese scholars, became the central theme. This phenomenon may be explained by 
the fact that the period was a period of disorder, and one had to watch what one said, 
for one might be involved in political intrigue by as little as one inadvertent word. 
Metaphysics, being a detached subject and not likely to involve anyone in trouble, came 
to furnish a facade behind which to hide one's political allegiance. 

45 Similar to the case of Emperor Wu of the Wei, these Chin "emperors" never were 
emperors. The title was given to them posthumously by Emperor Wu, who usurped the 
throne from the Wei in a manner almost identical to that in which Wei-wen usurped it 
from the Han. See note 20, Chapter XXIV. 

Literary Development and Time 241 

Emperor Huai [307-312] and Emperor Min [313-316] lived in constant 
danger through years of great distress. 46 

However, although [the royal personages of the Chin] were not 
inclined toward literature, the period witnessed a large crop of literary 
talents. Mao-hsien [or Chang Hua] spread jewels with every stroke of 
his brush, and T'ai-ch'ung [or Tso Ssu] splashed ink which forms 
brocade; [P'an] Yiieh and [Hsia-hou] Chan bloomed like a pair of 
jades, and Lu Chi and [his brother] Yun, those two brilliant spirits, 
stood out in beautifully patterned relief; in addition, Ying Chen, Fu 
Hstian, the three Changs, 47 Sun Ch'u, Chih Yti, Ch'eng-kung Sui, and 
their group all achieved distinction in literary beauty and refinement in 
style. Historians have consistently maintained that, as the Chin experi- 
enced the fate of a declining period, scholars living in that period were 
not able to develop their talents to the full. How true this judgment is! 
A fitting object for deep regret. 

During his period of restoration [317-322], Emperor Yuan, an earnest 
student himself, enforced the traditional regulations concerning state 
examinations. 48 Liu Wei and Tiao Hsieh, because of their stringent 
application of rules, were held in great favor and honor by the emperor; 
Ching-ch'un [or Kuo P'u], because of his quick wit in literary creation, 
was promoted with special consideration. Emperor Ming [323-325], a 
prodigy [when a boy], loved to hold literary meetings. While on the 
throne, he devoted himself untiringly to literature. He refined his 
feeling through the writing of edicts and decrees, and exhibited his 
literary talent in tz'u and fu. Yu Liang was treated with something 
more than the consideration ordinarily shown to an intimate relation 
because of his literary ability; and Wen Ch'iao won the highest esteem 
with his literary thought. Devoted to promoting an interest in litera- 
ture, Ming may be considered the Han Emperor Wu of the Chin 

46 Both became captives of the Huns and died in their hands; Huai was captured in 
311 and executed in 313, and Min was captured in 316 and executed in 317. 

47 For the three Changs, see note 40, Chapter VI. 

48 Previously, many students recommended to take the state examination had been 
given official appointment without the examination. See the biography of K'ung Tan, 
which is included in the biography of K'ung Yii, in the Chin-shu, chuan 78, pp. 5b-6a. 

242 Literary Development and Time 

Emperor Ch'eng [326-342] and Emperor K'ang [343-344] both died 
young, and Emperor Mu [345-361] and Emperor Ai [362-365] ruled 
for only brief periods. But with the rise of Emperor Chien-wen [371- 
372], deep interest was shown in literary creation whose style was 
characterized by purity and loftiness. Subtle words and profound prin- 
ciples swarmed over the mats of the metaphysicians, 49 and speculative 
thinking couched in brocaded expressions sprinkled the garden of 

Emperor Hsiao-wu [373-395] had no successor; 50 and the reigns of 
Emperor An [396-418] and Emperor Kung [419-420] marked the end 
of the dynasty. 51 During this period Yuan [Hung], Yin [Chung- 
wen], Sun [Sheng], Kan [Pao], and their group distinguished them- 
selves in literary and historical writing. They might not have been 
equally talented but, in view of their jadelike characters, they all served 
well in state functions. 

Metaphysical discussion was emphasized during the early Chin, and 
reached its height in the Eastern Chin. Such discussions left their 
influence upon the literary trends of the time. For this reason, although 
the time was a time of turmoil, its literature is characterized by calm 
and serenity in both its language and its thought. In poetry, Laotzu's 
philosophy became the inevitable theme, and in fu, it was Chuangtzu's 
ideas that furnished the content. It illustrates for us how deeply literary 
development is influenced by the course of worldly events, and how 
directly the rise and fall of political powers bear on the trends of litera- 

49 The Chinese at that time, like the Japanese, who absorbed a great deal of Chinese 
culture, sat on mats when engaged in discussion. 

50 Chin-shu, "Hsiao-wu chi": "At first [before the birth of Emperor Hsiao-wu] 
Emperor Chien-wen saw an apocryphal statement which ran: 'The fate of the Chin 
ends with Ch'ang-ming.' At the time Emperor Hsiao-wu was conceived, Empress Li 
was told by a spiritual man in a dream that she would give birth to a boy and should 
name him Ch'ang-ming. When he was born, it began to dawn in the east. So the baby 
was named [Ch'ang-ming, meaning prosperous and bright]. When Emperor Chien-wen 
learned this, he sobbed." In the Shih-shuo hsin-yii, "Yii-yen p'ien," a commentator 
gives roughly the same anecdote, ending, however, in these words of Emperor Chien-wen, 
"I never anticipated that Ch'ang-ming would appear in my own family." Since, accord- 
ing to the apocryphal statement, the Chin dynasty was to end with "Ch'ang-ming," he 
is said to have no successor. 

51 Both were murdered by Liu Yii, who usurped the throne and established the 
dynasty known as Liu-sung. An was murdered in 418 and Kung in 420. 

Literary Development and Time 243 

ture. If we adopt the method of determining a given outcome by 
establishing the source from which it developed, it is not difficult to 
tell what the development will be even in the distant future, one 
hundred generations hence. 

During the [Liu] Sung [420-479], Emperor Wu [420-423] was 
devoted to literature, and Emperor Wen [424-453] achieved a literary 
style characterized by balance and grace. 52 They may both be said to 
have possessed high literary virtue. And Emperor Hsiao-wu [454-464], 
a man of great talent, created works of a beauty comparable to the 
patterns of clouds. But the years during and after the reign of Emperor 
Ming [465-471] witnessed the decline of both literary form and 
literary ideas. 

However, among the gentry, writers rose like variegated clouds 
before a whirling wind. The Wangs and the Yiians were related by 
ties wrought in [literary forms as beautiful as] dragons' patterns; 53 and 
the Yens and the Hsiehs, generation after generation, produced works 
as wondrous as the colors of phoenixes. 54 And there were also the Hos 
[Ch'ang-yii, Ch'eng-t'ien, Shang-chih], the Fans [Fan T'ai and his 
son Yeh], the Changs [Fu and Yung], and the Shens [Yuen, Huai-wen, 
and Huai-yiian], and their innumerable fellows. All these writers are 
well known, so I mention them in passing. 

When our august Ch'i [479-502] came to rule, all good fortune 
descended upon the virtuous and enlightened. 55 T'ai-tsu [479-482], 56 

52 By "balance" here is meant a sense of balance between content and form, or ideas 
and their linguistic expressions. 

53 "Dragons' patterns" means beautiful literary forms. According to the Sung-shu, in 
the Wang family were Tan, Shao-chih, Chun-chih, T'an-sheng, Seng-ta, Wei, etc.; and 
in the Yuan family were Shu and Ts'an. 

54 When Yen and Hsieh are mentioned together, they generally refer to Yen Yen-chih 
and Hsieh Lin-yiin. Here Liu Hsieh must have in mind the literary members of the 
two families. In the Yen family we have Yen-chih himself and his two sons, Chun and 
Tz'e; and in the Hsieh family there were Lin-yiin himself, the cousin of his father's 
generation named Hun, and his cousins Hui-lien and Chan. 

55 Although Liu Hsieh lived on into the Liang dynasty and is generally considered to 
belong to the Liang, his Wen-hsin tiao-lung was completed in the Ch'i dynasty. Hence 
his laudatory rhetoric with reference to the Ch'i rulers. 

56 T'ai-tsu, Hsiao Tao-ch'eng, was the first ruler of the Ch'i dynasty. He created the 
dynasty by usurpation in 479. 

244 Literary Development and Time 

sage and martial, received the mandate of heaven; Kao-tsu, 57 a man of 
sagacity and literary quality, continued to further the dynastic fortune; 
Emperor Wen 58 was brilliant as the two celestial luminaries, and 
bountiful as the manifold forms of earth; and Chung-tsung, 69 endowed 
with the highest wisdom, made further advances to fulfil the dynastic 
destiny. All these rulers were gifted with literary talent and all were 
men of enlightenment; continuously brilliant, they have enjoyed great 

Now His Majesty has just begun his sage reign, and the world is 
bathed in the light of his literary thought. 60 The deities of the seas and 
the mountains bestow upon him divine perception, causing his native 
talent to flower forth. He drives the flying dragons through the heavenly 
path, and harnesses the thoroughbreds for a ten-thousand-// trip. Works 
on the Classics and government institutions under his reign have sur- 
passed those of the Chou and can look down upon those of the Han 
with contempt. They are comparable to those of the T'ang and the Yii; 
they are works which may be called truly great. Such great style and 
wondrous beauty I with my sluggish brush hardly dare try to depict. 
So I leave it to those who are better endowed with insight and wisdom 
to sing praise to the time. 

The Tsan: 
Against the background of ten dynasties, 61 
Literary trends have changed nine times. 62 
Once initiated at the central pivot, 

57 No Ch'i ruler was given the posthumous title of "Kao-tsu." The posthumous title 
of the second ruler is Shih-tsu. It is conceivable that Liu made a mistake here. The 
second ruler reigned from 483 to 493. 

58 He died as heir apparent and was posthumously given the title of Emperor Wen 
when his son, Yii-lin, succeeded to the throne. 

59 There was no ruler in the Ch'i dynasty who answers to this title. It could have 
been Emperor Ming (494-498), who was given the posthumous title of Kao-tsung, as 
Fan Wen-Ian suggests. 

60 Presumably referring to the first years of Tung-hun hou, 499-501. 

61 The ten dynasties: T'ang, Yii, Hsia, Shang, Chou, Han, Wei, Chin, Sung, and 
Ch'i. Between the Chou and Han was a short dynasty, the Ch'in, which Liu Hsieh treats 
as part of the Chou. 

62 For the meaning of the term "nine," see note 6, Chapter XLIV. 

The Physical World 245 

The process of transformation circles endlessly. 

Literary subject matter and the form in which it is treated are condi- 
tioned by the needs of the times, 

But whether a certain subject matter or a certain form is emphasized 
or overlooked depends on the choice made by the writers. 

Antiquity, however remote, 

Can be made to display itself before us like a human face. 

XLVI. The Physical World 

Spring and autumn roll around, succeeding one another, and the yin 
and yang principles alternatingly darken and brighten. 1 When objects in 
the physical world change, our minds are also affected. When the yang 
principle begins to ascend, ants burrow, and when the yin principle 
congeals, the mantis begins to feed. 2 Insignificant as these insects are, 
even they are affected. Profoundly indeed are things moved by the 
four seasons. Excellent jade inspires the mind of the intelligent, and 
glorious flowers shower splendor upon the soul that is pure. All things 
exert influence on one another. Who is there that can rest unmoved? 
Thus, as the new year is rung in and the spring begins to burgeon, 
we experience a joyous mood; as the luxuriant summer rolls by, our 
minds become filled with happy thoughts; as the sky heightens and 
the air becomes clear and brisk, 3 our hearts become darkened and 
heavy with distant thoughts; and when the ground is covered by 

1 "The spring and the autumn" represent the four seasons. The yin is the female 
principle and the yang, the male principle. According to the cosmology of the Yin-yang 
school, the universe with everything in it came into being with the interplay of these 
two principles. The most obvious examples of the manifestation of these principles are 
the successive movement of the seasons and the alternate lengthening of night and day. 

2 This is based on the Ta-tai li-chi, "Hsia shao-cheng p'ien." The yang principle begins 
to ascend in the twelfth moon, roughly at some time in January, and the yin principle 
begins to congeal in the eighth moon, roughly at some time in September. 

3 "Lofty sky and clear air" always means autumn in Chinese literature. 

246 The Physical World 

boundless sleet and snow, our souls become burdened with serious 
and profound reflections. Many different things appear in the course 
of the year, and each has a number of phases. One responds with 
varying emotions to these varying phases, and the form of language 
used depends on the emotion. One single leaf may suggest something 
significant, 4 and the chirping of insects is often enough to induce an 
inner mood. So how much greater an influence will be felt if we 
experience a clear wind and a bright moon on the same night, or a 
bright sun and a spring forest on the same morning! 

In responding to things, the Ancient Poets operated on the principle 
of endless association of ideas. They lost themselves in the myriads of 
things, completely absorbed in the visual and auditory sensations. On 
the one hand, they depicted the atmosphere and painted the appearances 
of things in perfect harmony with their changing aspects; and on the 
other, the linguistic and tonal patterns they used closely corresponded 
with their perceptions. For example: Shao-shao, "brilliant," is used to 
depict the brilliance of peach blossoms; /'-/, "feeling of attachment," to 
describe the sweeping willow trees; \ao-\ao, "brightly burning," to 
describe the coming out of the sun; piao-piao, "fast and heavy," to sug- 
gest an image of rain and snow; chieh-chieh, "chirping," to imitate the 
sound of orioles; yao-yao, "buzzing," to imitate the sound of insects. 5 
Then again in chiao-jih, "the bright sun," a reference to fidelity, or 
hui-hsing, "little stars," a reference to humility, each only a simple 
phrase, the Ancient Poets probe into the depth of the fundamental 
nature of things; 6 and with tsan-tz'u [describing the uneven lengths 

4 For example, the falling of the first leaf in the autumn. 

5 All these are taken from the Boo\ of Poetry. For shao-shao, see Mao shih yin-te, 
2/6/1; for /'-/, 36/167/6; for \ao-kao, 13/62/3; for piao-piao, 55/223/7; for chieh-chieh, 
1/2/1; and for yao-yao, 3/14/1. /-/ has also been translated as "luxuriant" (Karlgren), 
"fresh and green" (Legge), and "spread their shade" (Waley). It seems to me that these 
renderings lose the emotional mood of a departing traveler, who looks on the willow 
trees fondly, reluctant to leave, and then projects his emotional state onto the trees and 
attributes to them human feelings of attachment. For the traveler, these willow trees are 
symbols of home, suggesting by their sweeping manner the sweet and gentle atmosphere 
of home. Chieh-chieh and yao-yao seem to be cases of onomatopoeia. 

6 "Chiao-jih" is from the Book_ of Poetry, poem no. 73, a symbol of fidelity; "hui" 
and "hsing" are not found in such a combination, although it is suggested by the 
structure of the line in which "hui" and "hsing" occur separated by a particle (see 

The Physical World 247 

of water plants] and wo-jo [describing the glossiness of mulberry trees] 
each consisting of only two characters, the Ancient Poets have given 
us perfectly realistic descriptions of things. 7 In all these expressions, 
they have used a part to sum up the whole, leaving nothing whether in 
their feeling or in the appearance of things undescribed. 8 In spite of the 
thousand years of thought that have gone into this matter of poetic 
diction, no alteration can be made without difficulty. 

By the time the Li-sao came upon the scene, types of description had 
multiplied, and it was practically impossible to depict all the aspects 
of things with faithfulness to their nature. For it had then been found 
necessary to describe the same things in a variety of forms. So various 
terms to describe craggy height, or to describe luxuriant growth, came 
to be collected. Ch'ang-ch'ing [or Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju] and his group 
adopted a pretentious style and extraordinary tonal patterns, and their 
descriptions of mountains and waters consist of strings of words in 
rows, like columns of fish. Such a state of things may illustrate the 
truth of the statement that the fu poetry of the Ancient Poets is beau- 
tiful and yet well balanced, and their language is terse and compact; 
while the poetry of the Tz'u writers is beautiful but excessive, and their 
lines are good examples of verbose diction. 9 

In the ya section [of the Boo\ of Poetry] the blossoms of the prunus 
japonica are described as being "some yellow and some white"; 10 and 
in the Sao, or Ch'u-tz'u, the autumn orchid is described as having 
"green leaves" and "purple stem." 11 In the application of the five colors, 
it is important to keep in mind the appropriateness of different colors 
seen at different times. If green and yellow are used routinely, they 

poem no. 258), or by two words (see poem no. 21). Taken together, the phrase means 
"little stars," signifying a station of life that is humble and yet a necessary element in 
the harmony of the whole. 

7 For ts'an-tz'u, see the Boo\ of Poetry, 1/1/2, 4, 5; and for wo-jo, see ibid., 13/58/3. 

8 Liu Hsieh here gives the first clear statement of a synecdoche. 

9 These last clauses are a paraphrasing of a statement given in Yang Hsiung's Fa-yen, 
"Wu-tzu p'ien." 

10 "Some yellow and some white" is found in Mao-shih yin-te, 53/214/3. This phrase 
is meant to describe flowers in general, and not specifically the primus japonica, as stated 
in Liu Hsieh's text. 

11 See Ch'u-tz'u (Ssu-k'u pei-yao ed.), chiian 2, p. 33. 

248 The Physical World 

merely add to the wordiness of the piece without accomplishing any- 
thing of value. 

Recently, literary writers have emphasized realism in description. 
They pierce through to the inner structure of a landscape and penetrate 
the appearances of plants. Whatever their theme, they usually succeed 
in expressing something deep and profound in their poetry. To achieve 
perfection in the description of things depends on an intimate knowl- 
edge of the fitness of terms for certain specific descriptive purposes. 
This perfect aptness of the happy expression to the form of things may 
be likened to the relation between a seal and the seal ink paste, for 
the impression made reproduces the seal exactly to the minutest detail 
without further carving and cutting. Because of such skill, we are able 
to see the appearances of things through the descriptive words, or to 
experience the season through the diction. 

Now the modes of physical things have a certain regularity, but our 
thinking is more than a fixed routine. Sometimes we achieve perfection 
through spontaneous thinking, and sometimes, for all our laborious 
reasoning, our results are loose and unsystematic. Furthermore, what 
is found in the Boo\ of Poetry and the Li-sao seems to have covered 
all the strategic ground, and this belief has made later writers afraid 
to wield their own clever brushes in competition. They all seek to 
obtain skill by following in the direction of the [Boo\ of Poetry and the 
Li-sao], and hope that in accepting these patterns they may perchance 
achieve the extraordinary themselves. For if a writer is good at adapting 
essentials to new situations, then, even if the essentials are old, his 
writings will always seem fresh. 

The four seasons repeat their cycle, proliferating forms in great con- 
fusion; but to use them as the elements of poetic allegories requires 
measure and control. The physical world presents a variety of colorful 
objects, but the language one uses to analyze them must be brief. Such 
control of content and language makes the reader experience a sense 
of exhilarating lightness, and puts him in an emotional mood ever 
refreshingly new. 

Literary Talents 249 

The poets from days of old have always followed in one another's 
steps from generation to generation. They refer to one another's ex- 
perience and effect their own changes, and their success often comes 
from their being able to both accept and modify what has gone before. 
When one is able through his work to induce in the reader a mood 
that persists beyond the limit of the description of the physical things, 
he may be considered a man who completely understands the art of 

Mountains, forests, plateaus, and plains are certainly the ultimate 
source of literary thought. [But they are difficult to command.] For if 
described too briefly, the writing appears sketchy; and if described 
in too much detail, it sounds wordy. However, the reason why Ch'ii 
P'ing [or Ch'ii Yuan] was able to capture the spirit of feng and sao 
in the expression of feeling is that he was amply helped by his ex- 
perience of the rivers and mountains. 

The Tsan: 
Mountains rise one behind another, and waters meander and circle; 
Trees interlace and clouds mingle. 
Such sights before the eyes 
Stir the mind to express itself. 
"Spring days pass slowly," 12 
And autumn wind "soughs mournfully." 13 

The access of feeling for something is described as the giving of a gift, 
And the coming of inspiration as a response. 

XLVII. Literary Talents 

The literary output of the nine dynasties 1 is rich and glorious. In what 

12 See the Boo\ of Poetry, poem no. 154. 

13 See Ch'u-tz'u, "Shan-kuei" and "Chiu-ke." 

1 In Chapter XLV are mentioned ten dynasties. As the last dynasty, during which 

250 Literary Talents 

follows we shall discuss briefly the literary fashions and rhetorical style 
prevailing in those periods. 

During the Yii and the Hsia we have Kao Yao 2 who dwelt on the 
"Six Virtues"; 3 K'uei, who harmonized the eight timbres; 4 I, who 
wrote a [monitory] tsanf and the five brothers 6 who composed a song 
[of complaint]. Both in language and in content, these works possess 
warmth and grace, and they constitute a veritable standard of literary 
excellence for all time. 

During the period of the Shang and Chou, there were produced the 
[apologetic] "Kao" of Chung Hui, 7 the advice of I Yin, 8 and the poetry 
and sung of Yin Chi-fu and his group. 9 Their themes are, of course, 
classical and, in addition, their language furnishes models worthy of 

During the Ch'un-ch'iu period, ministers paid particular attention 
to their language during their diplomatic missions. Their repartee 
scintillates like a garden of jade and jewels; it glistens and shines like 
brocade spread out in the market place. Wei Ao compiled laws and 
statutes for the state of Ch'u, 10 [Shih] Hui of Sui instituted rites for 
the state of Chin, 11 Chao Shuai's literary gift earned him a place at 

this book was written — the Ch'i — is not included in this chapter, we have only nine 

2 The Boo\ of History, Chapter 2. Kao Yao was a minister of Shun, to whom he 
presented plans for the government in the "Kao-yao." 

3 These are given in the Chou-li: wisdom, benevolence, sageness, righteousness, loyalty, 
and harmony. See Chou-li yin-te, 3 /19a. 

4 K'uei was another minister of Shun, and he was also a musician. The Boo\ of 
History, Chapter 2. For the eight timbres, see note 40, Chapter VII. 

5 I was also a minister of Shun, whose tsan was an advice to Shun. It is given in 
Chapter 3 in the Boo\ of History. 

6 See note 12, Chapter VI. 

7 The Boo\ of History, Chapter 11, "Chung-hui chih-kao." Chung Hui was a minister 
of T'ang, who, after vanquishing the Hsia and putting Chieh, the last ruler of the Hsia, 
in exile, was smitten with remorse for his conduct against his former lord. Chung Hui, 
in this "Kao," tried to justify T'ang's conduct. 

8 Entitled "I-hsun," Chapter 13 of the Boo\ of History. 

9 This sung simply means songs and should be distinguished from the sung which 
means sacrificial odes and is one of the six elements of the Boo\ of Poetry. The term 
sung is used because Yin Chi-fu himself used this term to refer to the poem he wrote. 
See poems 259 and 260 in the Book, of Poetry. 

10 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 196/Hsiian 12/3 Tso. 

11 Ibid., 206/Hsiian 16/Tso, fu. 

Literary Talents 251 

the feast [given in Ch'ung-erh's honor by Duke Mu of Ch'in], 12 and 
Kuo-ch'iao [or Tzu-ch'uan] was enabled by means of his mastery of 
rhetoric to defend Cheng. 13 

[During the time when Tzu-ch'an was at the helm of the govern- 
ment of Cheng] Tzu-t'ai-shu [won honor] because he was graceful 
and gentle and gifted in literary art, and Kung-sun Hui because he 
was adept in diplomatic conversation. 14 These were the elite among 
the literary talents of the time. 

During the Warring States period the emphasis was on the art of 
war; however, there was no dearth of men of letters. The speculative 
writers drew upon philosophical ideas as source material; Ch'ii Yuan 
and Sung Yu exhibited their literary talent in Ch'u-tz'u; Yiieh I's reply 
to [the king of Yen] is convincing and morally sound; 15 Fan Chii's 
memorial to [the king of Ch'in] is thorough and penetrating; 16 Su 
Ch'in's arguments to win over the rulers of the various states 17 are 
vigorous and to the point; and Li Ssu's memorial [arguing against 
getting rid of guest ministers] is beautiful and persuasive. 18 If these 
writers had lived at a time when interest in literature was great, they 
would certainly have been the equals of Yang [Hsiung] and Pan [Ku]. 
And Hsiin K'uang [or Hsiin-tzu], a literary lion, called his descrip- 
tions of things fu; in these fu he achieved a balance between substance 

12 Ch'ung-erh, the chief contender to the throne of Chin, fled his country and went to 
Ch'in on account of internal chaos. He returned to power with the blessing of Ch'in in 
636 B.C. Chao Shuai, one of the followers who fled with Ch'ung-erh, was known for 
his literary ability. Literary ability at this time meant the ability to carry on a conversa- 
tion properly during state functions, without violating any social or political taboo. One 
of the qualifications was to be able to recite appropriate poems to express delicate ideas. 

13 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 307/Hsiang 25/7 Tso fu 2. See Chapter II, above. 

14 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 336/Hsiang 31 /Tso fu 6. 

15 Yiieh I, originally a general of Yen, was alienated from the King of Yen and fled 
to Chao, where he was enfeoffed Lord of Wang-shu. Then the King of Yen regretted it 
and sent a letter to Yiieh I, requesting him to return to Yen. In his reply, Yiieh I 
explained with a great deal of moral conviction why he could not return to Yen. 

16 See his biography in the Shih-chi. 

17 Before Su Ch'in was entrusted with the government of the six states in a vertical 
federation against the state of Ch'in, he had to travel from one state to another to 
convince their rulers of the serious consequences of not forming an alliance in the face 
of the ever-expanding Ch'in. Shih-chi, chiian 69. 

18 Li's memorial is in the Wen-hsiian. 

252 Literary Talents 

and literary form which made him the finest of the Confucian writers. 19 
Under the House of Han, Lu Chia was the first to produce works 
of wondrous beauty. He wrote a fu on "Meng-ch'un," 20 and produced 
the Hsin-yii. 21 In both he showed a wealth of argumentative talent. 
Chia I, an outstanding talent, was quicker of wit than a courser is fleet 
of foot. His reasoning is sound and his fu pure. He has not achieved 
his fame without merit. The "Ch'i-fa" of Mei Sheng 22 and the memorial 
to [Prince Hsiao of Liang] by Tsou Yang 23 are the work of brushes 
which are both brilliant and smooth; they express the souls of the 
writers in moving language. Tung Chung-shu was a devoted Con- 
fucian, and Tzu-ch'ang [or Ssu-ma Ch'ien] a perfect historian. Their 
works, as beautiful as embroidery, may be compared to the lamentations 
of the Ancient Poets. 24 [Ssu-ma] Hsiang-ju, an avid reader, modeled 
his writing on that of [Ch'ii] Yuan and [Sung] Yii. He has entered 
into the realm of beauty, and won the acclaim of a poet laureate. 
However, if one tries to analyze his ideas with any degree of thorough- 
ness, one will find that his reasoning is too weak for his literary form. 
It is this which evoked from Yang [Hsiung] the statement, "Ch'ang- 
ch'ing [or Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju] is one whose writing, though beautiful, 
is of little use." 25 This judgment is sound indeed. Wang Pao's rhetoric 
is characterized by its tight structure and artful expressions. His inti- 
mate descriptions of sights and sounds make his works light and 
readable. Tzu-yiin [or Yang Hsiung] may be considered the most 

19 Hsuntzu wrote "Fu-p'ien," in which he treats of "Li" [Rites], "Chih" [Knowledge], 
"Yun" [Clouds], "Ts'an" [Silkworm], etc. See Chapter 26 in the Hsiintzu, pp. 313-20. 

20 "The First Month in Spring," now lost. 

21 A work propounding mainly Confucian principles. 

22 See note 2, Chapter XIV. 

23 Tsou Yang was from Ch'i, in what is presently Shangtung. He came to Liang, in 
what is now Honan, with the purpose of getting an appointment from the prince. His 
literary talent aroused jealousy at the prince's court, and he was thrown into prison. 
The memorial to the prince written in prison not only saved his neck, but made him 
an honored guest of the prince. See his biography in the Han-shu. 

24 Both wrote fu on the theme of the frustration of scholars. 

25 This line is found in Yang Hsiung's Fa-yen, "Chiin-tzu (chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), 
p. 38. The idea may also be seen in the following quotation from "Wu-tzu p'ien": "If 
Confucius had included fu as one of the departments [of studies], Chia I may be con- 
sidered as having ascended the hall, and Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju as having entered the 
chamber. However, their trouble is that their works are of little use." Ibid., p. 4. 

Literary Talents 253 

profound both in the language he employs and the themes he treats. 
His ability to couch his brilliant thought in firm language is due to his 
ideas, which are both sagacious and profound; to his relentless search 
for wondrous and beautiful expressions; and to his untiring effort to 
think things through. Huan T'an's works have been acclaimed as being 
as rich as I Tun, 26 and Sung Hung has compared him to [Ssu-ma] 
Hsiang-ju in his recommendation. 27 However, judged on the basis of 
his ju on the Palace of Chi-ling and other works, he is definitely shal- 
low and lacking in talent. This proves that a writer who excels at 
satire and parable may not be able to write rhetorical pieces. Ching- 
t'ung [or Feng Yen] loved to write, and when he met with frustration 
in a time of prosperity, he wrote a fu to express his inner thoughts. 
Such a piece may be compared to a pearl, which is produced as the 
oyster becomes diseased. The two Pan [Piao and his son Ku] and the 
two Liu [Hsiang and his son Hsin] exhibited great literary talent in 
two successive generations. According to an old opinion, Ku was said 
to excel Piao in literary quality, and Hsin to excel Hsiang in scholar- 
ship. However, [Pan Piao's] "Wang-ming" is clear and convincing, 
and [Liu Hsiang's] "Hsin-hsii" comprehensive and well organized. 
A piece of jade, however exquisite, owes its origin to the jade-producing 
Mount K'un-kang, and as a product it would be rather difficult for it 
to excel its source. Fu I and Ts'ui Yin attained equal brilliance of style, 
and [Ts'ui Yin's son] Yuan and [his son] Shih ably continued the 
family tradition. Tu Tu and Chia K'uei both won fame in the literary 
world, but their works mark the beginning of the end of the trend 
that originated with Ts'ui [Yin] and Fu [I]. Li Yu aimed high in 
his writing of fu and ming but, lacking in talent and vigor, he finally 
folded his wings, unable to fly. Ma Yung, a great scholar of penetrating 
thought and wide learning, wrote in the tradition of the Classics, and 
in his work flowers and fruits support each other. Wang I was erudite 

26 A Chinese Croesus, living in the state of Lu during the Chou time. He was origi- 
nally a poor scholar, but later grew rich through his activity in selling salt and in 
other trade. 

27 According to Sung Hung's biography in the Hou-han shu, he compared Huan T'an 
to Yang Hsiung and Liu Hsiang and his son Hsin, and not to Hsiang-ju. 

254 Literary Talents 

and learned, and achieved beauty of pattern, but lacked strength. 
[His son] Yen-shou furthered his ambition, and achieved outstanding 
beauty in his work. His descriptive ability recalls the masterful hand 
of Mei Sheng. Chang Heng, learned and brilliant, and Ts'ai Yung, 
penetrating and graceful, two beacons in two generations, won equal 
distinction in both literary and historical writing. They may have 
differed in their hearts as the bamboo and cypress differ in their texture, 
but they are equally firm; and they may have differed in their substance 
as gold and jade differ in their nature, but they are both treasures. 
The tsou and i of Liu Hsiang convey an earnestness of purpose, al- 
though easy in tempo; the poetry of Chao I, however, overburdened 
with ideas, is incoherent and loose; K'ung Yung shows great vigor 
in the field of pi, and Ni Heng is adroit in the writing of wen. Each 
of these four writers has his own merit. P'an Hsu owes the ability he 
displays to the support of the Classics, and therefore his conferment 
edict is the outstanding specimen of its type; 28 Wang Lang, sensitive 
and articulate, did well for himself in the realm of hsu and ming. 
Writers before the time of Ch'ing [or Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju] and Yuan 
[or Wang Pao] mostly wrote out of their natural inclinations, and 
seldom took advantage of the experience of others; but after the time 
of [Yang] Hsiung and [Liu] Hsiang, many writers began to quote 
the works of past authors to help them in their own writing. It is at 
this point that we find the line drawn between those who take and 
those who give, a distinction which we should not allow to become 
blurred in our minds. 

The writing of Wei-wen [or Ts'ao P'ei] is the work of a fine talent, 
and is distinguished by a style which is pure and beautiful. But he is 
depreciated by many writers, who believed that he is a thousand It 
behind [Ts'ao] Chih. It is true that Tzu-chien [or Ts'ao Chih], quick 
in thinking and outstanding in talent, writes beautiful poetry and fine 
memorials, and Tzu-huan [or Ts'ao P'ei], because he is thorough in 
deliberation and slow in execution, is unable to compete with him in 
speed. But Ts'ao P'ei's yueh-fu songs are pure and exquisite, and his 

28 See note 22, Chapter XIX. 

Literary Talents 255 

Tien-lun [lun-wen] is logical and to the point; his critical judgment, 
furthermore, is certainly far from pointless. 29 Since people in general 
repeat the opinions of others in making their own judgments, it is 
probable that many have been influenced by those who depreciated 
the talent of Wen-ti [or Ts'ao P'ei] because he occupied the position of 
highest honor, and tended to overrate the talent of Prince Ssu [or Ts'ao 
Chih] because he was persecuted by his [emperor-brother]. 30 Such 
judgment cannot be held to be valid. 

Chung-hsiian [or Wang Ts'an], phenomenally talented, is both 
adroit and thorough; most of his works are good in every way, seldom 
marred by any rhetorical faults. Judging him on the basis of his poetry 
and fu, we must rank him at the top among the Seven Masters [of the 
Chien-an period]. [Ch'en] Lin and [Juan] Yii are known for their 
fu [or tally] and hsi [or proclamation]; Hsu Kan is praised for his 
fu and lun; Liu Chen couches his deep feeling in brocaded rhetoric; 
Ying Yang succeeds on the strength of his sound scholarship; Lu Ts'ui 
[?-2i4] and Yang Hsiu [173-219] are versed in the art of writing mem- 
oirs; Ting I [?-20o] and Han-tan [Ch'un, 132-?] exhibit beauty in the 
writing of essays. All of these writers may be numbered among the 

Liu Shao's "Chao-tu fu" 31 may be compared with the fu of earlier 
writers, and Ho Yen's "Ching-fu-tien fu" 32 is a beacon to young writers 
to come. Hsiu-lien [or Ying Chii], characterized by purity of style, 
pours forth his feelings in the "Po-i," 33 and Chi-fu [or Ying Chen], 
well-versed in rhetoric, spreads out his variegated pattern in his "Lin- 
tan fu." 34 Hsi K'ang's essays express the mind of a master artist, and 
Juan Chi's poetry is permeated with his whole spirit and life. Together, 
these writers compose a symphony of different sounds and fly in perfect 
formation, although each has a unique pair of wings. 

29 The critical judgment mentioned here apparently refers to his critical remarks about 
the Seven Masters of the Chien-an period in his Tien-lun lun-wen. 

30 There was a great deal of undercurrent friction between the two brothers, Ts'ao 
Chih being the victim and Ts'ao P'ei the persecutor. Liu Hsieh is expressing an opinion 
common to many literary critics, that people's judgment about the literary quality of 
the two brothers is greatly influenced by their sympathy for the victim. 

31 See note 12, Chapter XXXVIII. 32 See Wen-hsiian, chuan 11. 
33 See note 39, Chapter VI. 3 * See l-wen Ui-chii, chuan 8. 

256 Literary Talents 

The short pieces of Chang Hua sparkle brilliantly, pure and smooth. 
His "Chiao-liao fu" 35 is as great an allegorical piece as Han Fei's 
"Shuo-nan." 36 Tso Ssu, an extraordinary talent, is a man of profound 
thought. His whole life and spirit is spent without reserve in the writing 
of the "San-tu-fu," 37 in which he distinguishes himself in his treatment 
of historical themes. P'an Yiieh, quick-witted, has a smooth, flowing 
style. He gives his best in the writing of the "Hsi-cheng fu," 38 yet has 
energy to spare to devote to the writing of the ai, or lament, and lei, 
or elegy. His art [is the result of his native endowment and] is not due 
to external influences. Lu Chi has a natural tendency to probe deeply 
into the secret of things, and seeks in his language to adopt all available 
patterns. Therefore, he is able to couch his ideas in artistic form. 
However, he fails to check his inclination toward verbosity. Shih-lung 
[or Lu Yiin] is lucid and well-disciplined, and manages to bring order 
out of confusion through a wide range of knowledge. So he is able to 
achieve freshness and purity of style. He is particularly keen in the 
art of writing short pieces. Sun Ch'u organizes his thoughts with 
direct relevance to the situation; and Chih Yu expresses his feelings 
with warmth and grace, always in conformity to the best literary 
standard. Yii's attempt to evaluate and classify literary works is system- 
atic and sound. Fu Hsiian's writing is filled with exhortations; while 
the memorials of Ch'ang-yii [or Fu Hsien] 39 are characterized by 
resolution and integrity. Both possess the character of [Liu] Chen and 
[Hsu] Kan, but neither may serve as brilliant stem and calyx for 
flowers. Ch'eng-kung Tzu-an [or Ch'eng-kung Sui] wrote the most 
beautiful fu of his time, and Hsia-hou Hsiao-ju [or Hsia-hou Chan] 
produced works which are all Classics in miniature. Ts'ao Shu is pure 
and beautiful in his long pieces, and Chi-ying [or Chang Han], clear- 
cut in his short rhymes. Each of these writers has his good point. 

35 Chiao-liao are tiny birds which, in spite of their size, are completely self-sufficient. 
As their small size renders them useless, they are spared as other more useful birds, 
such as peacocks, are not. Developing the idea of equality first propounded by Chuangtzu, 
Chang draws a lesson from the existence of the chiao-liao. For the fu, see Wen-hsiian, 
chiian 13. 

36 Han-fei-tzu, chiian 4, Chapter 13. 37 See note 6, Chapter XXVI. 
38 Wen-hsiian, chiian 10. 39 Fu Hsiian's son. 

Literary Talents 257 

Meng-yang [or Chang Tsai] and Ching-yang [or Chang Hsieh] are 
equals in literary talent, comparable to the states of Lu and Wei, for 
theirs are the works of literary equals. 40 The works of Liu K'un [270- 
317] are characterized by grace and vigor, effervescing with spirit, and 
those of Lu Shen [284-350] are expressive in feeling and lucid in 
presentation of ideas. These qualities came as natural consequences of 
the conditions of the time. Ching-ch'un's [or Kuo P'u's] beautiful 
pieces crown the literary production of the period of restoration; his 
"Chiao-fu" is splendid and grand, and his poems on immortality invoke 
in the mind of the reader a feeling of lightness, as if he were floating 
and soaring — riding on the clouds. 41 Yii Yiian-kuei's [or Yii Liang's] 
memorials are neat and close-knit, written in a spirit calm and free; 
and Wen T'ai-chen's [or Wen Ch'iao's] memoir is reasonable and 
readable. Both are fine artists in writing. Sun Sheng and Kan Pao are 
at their best in historical works patterned after the classical tien and 
hsun. As literary architects they may have different ideas about the 
positions of doors and windows, but about the general artistic pattern 
they more or less agree. 

Yuan Hung drives his chariot wildly, holding his head high in the 
air; hence his work is unique but rather lame; Sun Ch'o closely fol- 
lows the trodden rut, producing works which are systematic but 
unexciting; Yin Chung-wen's "Ku-hsing" and Hsieh Shu-yuan's 
[or Hsieh Hun's] "Hsien-ch'ing" are examples which illustrate the 
decline of poetry into vain and disconnected sounds. Although they 
may exhibit a high degree of lyricism, they do violence to the principle 
of literature. 

With respect to the talents of the [Liu] Sung dynasty, all we need 
say is that the literary production is profuse. As these works have been 
produced recently, they are easy to understand, and I shall not include 
them in my treatment. 

The forest of talents of the Later Han is comparable to that of the 

40 Literally, "literary brothers." Lu and Wei were brother states; Lu was the fief of 
the Duke of Chou, and Wei that of K'ang-shu, both younger brothers of King Wu. 

41 Seven poems on immortality by Kuo P'u are included in Wen-hsiiati, chiian 21. 

258 Literary Talents 

Western Capital [i.e., the Former Han]; and the garden of literature 
of the Chin is equal in beauty to that of Yeh-tu. 42 However, during 
the Wei dynasty the literary world always referred to the Yiian-feng 
period [1 10-105 B.C.] as the period in which literary development 
reached its height; in the [Liu] Sung dynasty, it was the Chien-an 
period [A.D. 196-220] which was the subject of common admiration. 
Why? Because these were the golden ages when literature was re- 
spected, the periods of gracious patronage under which talented writers 
were gathered together. The Ancients did not, then, emphasize the 
spirit of time without reason. 43 

The Tsan: 
Rare indeed is talent! 

Each individual is unique in his natural gift. 
If for once one succeeds in producing a talented piece, 
We have a brocaded work which will last a thousand years; 
The wonderful patterns he leaves behind will perpetuate themselves 
By profoundly influencing future styles. 
The work of the talented man will be free from admixture and 

Pure and bright, a fit object for an appreciative eye. 

XLVIIL An Understanding Critic (Chih-Yin) 1 

It is indeed difficult to find an understanding critic of personal thought. 
It is true that personal thought is intrinsically difficult to understand; 
but what is still more difficult is to find someone who possesses real 

42 Capital of the Wei dynasty. 

43 The spirit of time is repeatedly emphasized in the Boo\ of Changes. See Chou-i 
yin-te, 5/4/t'uan; 44/hsi, Shang/n; 45/hsi, hsia/i; and many others. And Mencius 
presented to Confucius the title of "The Sage of Timeliness." Meng-tzu yin-te, 39/5B/1. 

1 Literally, "Chih-yin" means one who understands music, that is, one who has a 
sympathetic ear. By extension, it comes to mean an understanding friend. 

An Understanding Critic 259 

understanding. Hardly once in a thousand years do we happen upon 
an understanding critic. The [so-called] understanding critics have 
since time of old despised their contemporaries and devoted themselves 
to those who have passed into antiquity, just as it is said, "One disdains 
to harness the horses which are presented to him every day, but dreams 
of using those whose neighing he hears from a distance." 2 

When [Han Fei's] "Ch'u-shuo" 3 first appeared, the first emperor of 
the Ch'in expressed great regret for not being Han's contemporary; 4 
and Emperor Wu of the Han felt the same way about [Ssu-ma 
Hsiang-ju] when he first read Hsiang-ju's "Tzu-hsii fu." 5 But once 
it was known that they were contemporaries, Han [Fei] was thrown 
into prison and Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju lightly regarded. Are these not clear 
examples of the contempt in which contemporaries are usually held? 

Then there were Pan Ku and Fu I, whose achievements in literary 
writing are about equal, and yet Pan Ku ridiculed Fu I and said, "Once 
he starts, he does not know how to stop." 6 And Ch'en-ssu [or Ts'ao 
Chih], in his discussion of talent, also severely criticized K'ung-chang 
[or Ch'en Lin]. But to the request of Ching-li [or Ting I, ?-22o] 7 that 
Ts'ao Chih polish his writing, Ts'ao responded with a word of praise 
for him. Then there was [Liu] Chi-hsu, not a great writer himself, 
who loved to criticize, and was compared to T'ien Pa by Ts'ao Chih. 8 

2 Quoted from the Kuei-\u-tzu. See T'ao Tsung-i, Shuo-fu, chiian 71, p. 1 6a. 

3 See Han-fei-tzu, Chapters 30-35. 

4 This was before the emperor knew that Han Fei was actually his contemporary. 
But when he found that out and succeeded in getting him to his court, he promptly 
threw him into prison on the advice of the jealous Li Ssu. By the time the emperor 
realized his mistake, Han Fei had already been poisoned by order of Li Ssu. 

5 See the biography of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju in the Shih-chi, where the emperor is 
reported to have said, after reading the fu, "What a misfortune that I cannot live in the 
same period with this man!" Shih-chi, chiian 117, p. 3a-b. 

6 This case was first cited by Ts'ao P'ei in his Tien-lun lun-wen. See Wen-hsiian, 
chiian 52. As Pan Ku and Fu I were contemporaries, Pan's critical opinion of Fu is 
cited here to support Liu's statement that one despises his contemporaries. 

7 A younger brother of Ting I, whose tzu is Cheng-li. The elder brother is mentioned 
in the last chapter. Both died at approximately the same time. 

8 These were all Ts'ao Chih's contemporaries, mentioned in his letter to Yang Hsiu. 
See "Yii Yang Te-tsu shu," Wen-hsiian, chiian 42. Liu Hsieh here wrote laconically, 
assuming his reader's acquaintance with Ts'ao Chih's letter to Yang Hsiu. Ts'ao Chih's 
praise for Ting I was prompted by the latter's frank opinion of himself; and he com- 

260 An Understanding Critic 

In these instances we have a glimpse of Ts'ao Chih's opinion. When 
Wei-wen [or Ts'ao P'ei] said, "Literary men despise each other," 9 his 
statement was certainly not groundless. 

Chun-ch'ing [or Lou Hu], a man of great eloquence, mistakenly 
estimated his own ability when he dabbled in literary discussion. He 
once made the statement, "The historian [Ssu-ma] Ch'ien, in the 
writing of his work, sought advice from Tung-fang So." 10 Huan T'an 
and his group noted this with sneering laughter. Now if [Lou Hu], 
who was only a gambler, was censured for passing judgment lightly, 
can one who considers himself a man of letters afford to make 
groundless remarks? 

There are men of high intelligence and keen penetration who value 
the ancient and despise the modern, like the two rulers mentioned 
above. There are others, men of talent, who have a tendency to esteem 
themselves and look down upon others, like Pan Ku and Ts'ao Chih. 
There are still others who, although they are men of letters, lack 
scholarship, and are blind to truth and credulous of falsehood, like 
Lou Hu. [Liu Hsin's] expressed apprehension that [work of pro- 
fundity] may be fated to cover pickle jars cannot be dismissed as a 
case of oversensitivity. 11 

Now the unicorn and phoenix are vastly different from a chun, or 
hornless deer, and a pheasant; and pearls and jade are immeasurably 
superior to gravel and stone; and yet in broad daylight and clearly 
presented before the eye, [these things have been mistaken for each 

pared Liu Chi-hsii to T'ien Pa, a sophist in the Warring States period, because both 
Liu and T'ien were fond of criticizing others, although they themselves lacked talent. 

9 The opening sentence in his Tien-lun lun-wen. 

10 Quoted by Ssu-ma Chen of the T'ang dynasty in his commentary to the last chiian 
of the Shih-chi, chiian 130, p. 29b, as a remark made by Huan T'an. According to 
Liu Hsieh, the statement was made by Lou Hu, and Huan T'an was criticizing him 
for his audacity in making it. 

11 Pan Ku, in his tsan to the biography of Yang Hsiung, mentions that after Liu 
Hsin had read Yang's T'ai-hsuan, a work patterned after the Boo\ of Changes, and 
Fa-yen, a. work patterned after the Analects, he said to Yang Hsiung, "Your labor will 
all be in vain. At present, honor and wealth await scholars who understand the Boo\ 
of Changes, and still there is no one who really understands it. How can they be expected 
to understand your T'ai-hsiian} I am afraid people who come after us will use it to 
cover their jars of pickles." See Han-shu, chiian 87, hsia, p. 17a. 

An Understanding Critic 261 

other]. A minister of Lu took the unicorn to be a chun, 12 a man of 
Ch'u took a pheasant to be a phoenix, 13 a Wei rustic thought a jade 
[rule] which shone at night was a piece of an ominous stone, 14 and 
a fool of Sung treasured a fragment of gravel from Mount Yen as if 
it were a precious pearl. 15 If these, which are all physically tangible 
things, and easily distinguishable, have been so mistakenly perceived, 
how much harder it must be to judge accurately when we come to deal 
with literature, the nature of which is so difficult to understand! 

Literary works are of all kinds, and their contents and forms are 
interlocked. Our knowledge tends to be one-sided; no one has been 
able to be perfectly comprehensive. Men of the heroic type 16 will 
[unsophisticatedly] beat time when they hear a tune; those who are 
reserved are often keenly perceptive, inclining to the lofty way of 
retirement; the superficially clever will look at ornate patterns with 
throbbing hearts, and those who love the extraordinary will listen to 
what is odd with ears pricked up. They all recite with admiration 
what suits their taste, but discard that which does not meet with their 
approval. Each holds fast to his bias, and wants it to be the measure 
of all changes. There is no wonder that he who looks to the east does 
not see the western wall. But one can be considered a good musician 
only after one has played a thousand tunes, and a collector of arms 
can be considered a connoisseur only after he has seen a thousand 
swords; 17 so broad experience and learning are the sine qua non of true 
wisdom. Only when experiences of large mountains and ocean waves 
form the background for a man's description of small mounds and 
ditches, can he be free from individual preconceived evaluations and 
prejudices. And only thus freed is he able, like a balance, to judge 
impartially, or like a mirror, to reflect without distortion. 

12 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 487/ A8 14/1 Kung-yang. 

13 Yin-wen-tzu, "Ta-tao," shang (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), p. 6. 

14 Ibid. 15 l-wen lei-chii, chiian 6. 

16 Literally, the term "K'ang-k'ai" means full of feelings. Men of genuine feelings 
are usually explosive in temperament. Hence the same term means also "heroic." 

17 Remarks attributed to Yang Hsiung and Wang Chiin-ta, quoted in Huan T'an's 
Hsin-lnn. See I-lin, a compilation by Ma Tsung of the T'ang dynasty of quotations from 
authors since the Chou and Ch'in. 

262 An Understanding Critic 

Now before we begin to study a piece of literature, we should pay 
attention to six points : its genre and style, its rhetoric, its application of 
the principle of flexible adaptability, its conformity or nonconformity 
to orthodox principle, its factual and intellectual content, and its 
musical pattern. Once clear about these points, we shall be able to 
weigh its merits and its faults. 

The writer's first experience is his inner feeling, which he then seeks 
to express in words. But the reader, on the other hand, experiences 
the words first, and then works himself into the feeling of the author. 
If he can trace the waves back to their source, there will be nothing, 
however dark and hidden, that will not be revealed to him. Although 
the life of an age may have passed beyond our view, we may often, 
through reading its literature, succeed in grasping the heart of it. We 
ought never to blame a work for being too profound, for our failure 
to understand it is often due to our own lack of experience and knowl- 
edge. If it is possible for a man's impressions of mountains and rivers 
to find expression in his lute playing, 18 how much easier it must be 
to depict physically tangible forms with a brush, from which no inner 
feeling or idea can be successfully hidden. Our mind reflects reason 
just as our eyes perceive physical forms; as long as our eyes are keen, 
there are no physical forms which cannot be distinguished, and as 
long as our mind is alert, there are no feelings or ideas which cannot 
be conveyed. However, because the popular taste is confused, profound 
writings have come to be discarded, and the superficial types have 
gained popularity. This is why Chang Chou ridiculed "Che-yang" 
music, 19 and Sung Yii was struck with melancholy at the [forlorn] 

18 Po Ya, an ancient musician, was playing a lute, and Chung Tzu-chi, a friend with 
an appreciative ear, was listening. While he was playing, Po Ya thought of Mount T'ai; 
Chung Tzu-chi said, "Exquisite, your music is just as majestic as Mount T'ai." In a little 
while, Po Ya thought of a river; Chung Tzu-chi again said, "Exquisite, your music rolls 
full like a flowing river." When Chung Tzu-chi died, Po Ya dashed his lute to pieces 
and never during his lifetime did he play again. For he believed that there was no one 
else understanding enough to make his playing worthwhile. See Lu-shih ch'un-ch'iu, 
chiian 14, p. 140. Chung Tzu-chi, also known as Chung Chi, has always been respected 
as the most understanding critic in China. 

19 See Chuangtzu yin-te, 32/12/91: "Great music fails to win popular ears, but when 
'Che-yang' or 'Huang-hua' is played, they all start to laugh out loud." Both "Che-yang" 
and "Huang-hua" are ancient popular musical pieces. 

An Understanding Critic 263 

fate of "Pai-hsiieh." 20 Long ago Chu P'ing [or Ch'ii Yiian] said, 
"There is in my inner nature both form and substance, but the people 
do not know their wonderful patterns." 21 Indeed, an understanding 
critic alone is capable of seeing what is [inwardly] wonderful. Yang 
Hsiung once called himself a lover of literary works which are both 
profoundly erudite and beautiful. From this statement it is apparent 
that Yang did not indulge in the superficial and shallow. 

Only those with deep knowledge and profound insight will [give 
the author an] experience of inner joy, which experience may be com- 
pared to the warmth people feel while ascending a terrace in the 
spring, 22 or to the feeling of a wayfarer halting his step for music and 
viands. 23 For it is said that the orchid, which is the most fragrant thing 
in the country, will give forth its full scent only when worn; and 
similarly, literary works, which too are national treasures, must be 
appreciated to display their beauty. May those who consider themselves 
understanding critics consider these words well. 

The Tsan : 
Grand bells of ten thousand weights 
Need K'uei and K'uang to determine their tones. 24 
Books in the box may be of excellent quality, 

But they depend on expert knowledge for an appraisal of their value. 
The popular vulgar music drowns one's soul; 
So do not let your hearing be misled by it. 
Only the principles propounded here 
Mark out the paths which are free from mistakes. 

20 "Pai-hsiieh" is classical music, not appreciated by people at large. See Sung Yii's 
"Tui Ch'u-wang wen," Wen-hsiian, chiian 45. 

21 Ch'u-tzu, chiian 4, "Huai-sha." 

22 Laotzu pen-i (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), Chapter 17, p. 15. 

23 Ibid., Chapter 30, p. 27. 

24 Both K'uei and K'uang were masters of music in ancient times. 

XLIX. The Capacity of a Vessel (Ch'eng-ch'i) 

Scholars, in the discussion in the "Book of Chou," 1 are compared to 
the work of the carpenter, 2 because their value consists both in their 
practical ability and in the beautiful patterns in which that ability is 
expressed. In the same way, only after a block has been carved is 
vermilion applied, and only after the walls are up are carving and 
varnish put on. 3 

However, modern writers love the flowers and discard the fruits. 
This moved Wei-wen [or Ts'ao P'ei] to remark, "All writers, present 
and past alike, are generally careless in the small matters of their 
lives." 4 And Wei Tan, in his criticism, condemned a number of 
writers. 5 Later critics reiterate these opinions like thunder responding 
to thunder, tragically monotonous and repetitive. 

The following are some of the faults of literary writers: [Ssu-ma] 
Hsiang-ju stole a wife and received bribes; Yang Hsiung loved to drink 
and was quite lost as to how to plan for his daily living; Ching-t'ung 
[or Feng Yen] was rather undisciplined; 6 Tu Tu was persistent in 
asking favors and was never satisfied; Pan Ku unashamedly flattered 
Tou [Hsien] to add to his own prestige; Ma Yung allied himself with 
Liang [Chi] and was insatiable in his thirst for bribes; Wen-chii [or 
K'ung Yung], haughty and conceited, hastened his own death; Cheng- 
p'ing [or Ni Heng], wild and naive, courted his own execution; 7 
Chung-hsuan [or Wang Ts'an] was frivolous and hot-headed; K'ung- 
chang [or Ch'en Lin], was hasty and careless; Ting I was a greedy 

1 The Chou section of the Boo\ of History. 

2 "Tzu-ts'ai," Chapter 31 in the Book, of History. Actually, it is the scholar's ability to 
manage the affairs of the state which is compared to a carpenter's work. 

3 For the source of these figures, see Chapter 31, the Book °f History. Shang-shu 
t'ung-chien, 31/01 44-01 70. 

4 See his second letter to Wu Chih, in Wen-hsiian, chiian 42. 

5 Included in the list criticized by Wei are: Wang Ts'an, Po Ch'in, Juan Yii, Ch'en 
Lin, and Lu Tz'ui. See the biography of Wang Ts'an in the "Wei-shu," in the San-f(uo- 
chih, chiian 21, pp. 6b-7a. 

6 See their biographies in the Han-shu. 

7 See their biographies in the Hou-han-shu. 

The Capacity of a Vessel 265 

man, forever demanding gifts; Lu Ts'ui devoted his life to the prob- 
lems of what to drink and what to eat, with no sense of shame; Pan 
Yueh forged the prayer for the heir apparent, Min-huai; 8 Lu Chi 
attached himself to Chia [Mi] and Kuo [Chang]; 9 Fu Hsiian, stubborn 
and narrow-minded, even scolded the prime minister; and Sun Ch'u, 
malicious and obstinate, engaged in a lawsuit against his superior. 10 
All these are faults literary writers have committed. 

Of course, literary writers are not the only ones who have faults; 
military generals are not free from them. We recall, for example, the 
following faults of generals and prime ministers of the past: Kuan 
Chung's petty thievery, Wu Ch'i's greed and debauchery, Ch'en P'ing's 
black character, the sycophancy of Chiang[-hou Chou Po] and Kuan 
[Yin], and numberless other faults of people who came after them. 11 
If K'ung Kuang, a prime minister, had to flatter Tung Hsien, 12 how 
could we expect Pan [Ku], and Ma [Yung], who held petty official 
positions, or P'an Yueh, who was a subordinate, to do otherwise? 
Wang Jung had a hand in the establishment of the [Chin] dynasty 
and occupied the highest official rank. If a man of his calibre vulgarly 
sold offices and haggled for bargains, what can be expected of [Ssu-]ma 
[Hsiang-ju] and Tu [Tu], who had to bend their backs like musical 
stones, 13 or Ting [I] and Lu [Ts'ui], who were almost paupers? 

8 Empress Chia was about to remove the heir apparent. On the pretext that the 
emperor was not feeling well, she sent for the heir and put him in a room, and forced 
him to drink until he was drunk. Then she told P'an Yiieh to write a prayer in the name 
of the heir apparent. The drunken heir was asked to copy it, and the empress presented 
it to the emperor. In the prayer, the emperor was told to dispose of himself, with the 
threat that if he did not do so, the heir would do it with his own hand. As a result, 
the heir was removed. See Chin-shu, chiian 53, the biography of Min-huai T'ai-tzu, 
pp. 4b-5a. 

9 Chia Mi was Empress Chia's nephew and Kuo Chang was her uncle. 

10 See their biographies in the Chin-shu. 

11 Kuan Chung was accused of being a petty thief from Ch'eng-yin. Sec Liu Hsiang's 
Shuo-yz'ian, chiian 8, p. 50, "Tsun-hsien p'ien." For Wu Ch'i's character, see his biog- 
raphy in the Shih-chi. For Ch'en P'ing, Chou Po, and Kuan Yin, see the biography of 
Prime Minister Ch'en, in the Shih-chi. 

12 K'ung Kuang had been a superior of Tung Hsien's father. But since Tung Hsien 
had become a favorite of the emperor, K'ung Kuang had to forget his dignity and treat 
him in a flattering way. See "Ning-hsing chuan," in the Han-shu. 

13 Symbolic of people occupying low positions and having to show respect by bowing 
to others all the time. 

266 The Capacity of a Vessel 

However, the fame of Tzu-hsia [or K'ung Kuang] as a great scholar 
did not suffer on account of his conduct, nor was Chun-ch'ung [or 
Wang Yung] excluded from the "Bamboo Grove" 14 because of his. 
This is because they had both achieved great names, and the criticisms 
levelled against them were somewhat moderated. 

But [on the other side of the ledger] we have the loyalty of Ch'ii 
Yuan, the vigilance and alertness of Tsou [Yang] and Mei [Sheng], 15 
the perfect filial piety of Huang Hsiang, 16 and the reticent and retiring 
nature of Hsu Kan. So who can say that all writers have stained 
characters ? 

Man is endowed with five elemental abilities. 17 Not all men are 
equal in these gifts, and they do not put them to the same uses. Short 
of a sage of the first order, there is rarely anyone who can be perfect. 
However, generals and great ministers, on account of their high station, 
usually enjoy great fame, while writers, being lowly and humble in 
their official positions, easily become the object of criticism. For similar 
reasons, rivers and streams roll majestically along, while brooks and 
creeks have to struggle for every inch they cover. Now, just as there 
is a reason why some people are famous and others unknown, so there 
is a reason why some people are prosperous and others frustrated. The 
reason for giving an appointment to a scholar lies in his usefulness in 

14 The names of the "Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove" are listed in Liu I-ch'ing's 
Shih-shuo hsin-yii, chiian 5, Chapter 23 (Chu-tzu chi-ch'eng ed.), p. 188: Juan Chi, 
Hsi K'ang, Shan T'ao, Liu Ling, Juan Hsien, Hsiang Hsiu, and Wang Yung. Imbued 
with the spirit of Tao, they were mostly at odds with the way of the world, and sought 
to live their lives spontaneously as their impulses and feelings directed them. 

15 Tsou and Mei were sent to serve at the court of Prince Wu. When they discovered 
that the prince was entertaining rebellious intentions and would not listen to their 
remonstrances, they left Wu and went to Liang. See Tsou Yang's biography in the 

16 See his biography in the Hou-han-shu. 

17 There are three different definitions of "wu-ts'ai" (five kinds of materials or 
elements): the first — metal, wood, leather, jade, and earth — is given in Cheng Hsiian's 
commentary to "K'ao-kung chi," the last section of the Chou-li. The second — metal, 
wood, water, fire, and earth — is given in the commentary to a line in the Tso-chnan: 
Tien sheng wu-ts'ai ["Heaven produces the five elements"]. See Ch'un-ch'iu ching- 
chuan yin-te, 318/Hsiang 27/fu 2. The third — bravery, wisdom, benevolence, trust- 
worthiness, and loyalty — is given in the Liu-t'ao, where these were quoted as qualities 
a general must possess. Liu Hsieh, in using this term wu-ts'ai, seems to be merely 
referring to the abilities of a man in general. 

The Capacity of a Vessel 267 

practical affairs. [Chi] Ching-chiang of Lu was just a woman of 
intelligence, but she had sense enough to infer from her weaving 
principles applicable to the management of a state. 18 How then can 
it be explained when a man who has made achievements in literature 
yet knows nothing about government? The reason Yang [Hsiung] 
and [Ssu-]ma [Hsiang-ju], for example, remained humble in station 
throughout their lives is that, although they exhibited great literary 
excellence, they lacked real content. Yii Yiian-kuei [or Yii Liang] of 
the Chin was a man of brilliant talent; but because he had achieved 
renown as a military general, his literary fame was eclipsed. If he had 
not been a great minister and general, he would have been known as 
a talented writer. But both the art of literature and the art of war fit 
in wherever there is talent. Hsi Hu, just because he was versed in the 
Classics, was appointed a military commander-in-chief. 19 When did 
he neglect military affairs because he loved literature? Sun Wu[-tzu's] 
work on military science [Sun-tzu] is written in a language as beautiful 
as pearls and jade. But when did he, because he was skilled in military 
arts, ignore literary excellence? 

A man of virtue keeps his ability hidden, and waits for the right 
moment to act. One who aims at achievement in affairs of state should 
on the one hand strive for perfection in cultivating the excellence of 
the inner man and on the other be able to express this inner excellence 
externally in beautiful patterns. In other words he should have a nature 
like cedar and a trunk like camphor-laurel. His purpose in writing 
will be to control affairs of state; and when he is asked to shoulder 
heavy responsibilities, he will be as dependable as a pillar or a beam. 
When frustrated, he will cultivate his inner excellence in retirement 
and immortalize it in words; when in office, he will take advantage of 
the opportunity to achieve worldly success. Such a writer will meet 
the requirements set up for scholars in the "Tzu-ts'ai." 20 

18 See Liu Hsiang's Lieh-nu chaan, chiian i, p. 12. 

19 Ch'un-ch'iu ching-chuan yin-te, 130/Hsi 27/5 Tso. 

20 See note 2 above. 

268 The Capacity of a Vessel 

The Tsan: 
Observe the writers of the past: 

Some have achieved perfection in both literary quality and moral virtue! 
The fame of some of them rings out in Ch'u in the South, 21 
And the literary excellence of others shakes Liang in the North. 22 
If a writer has no capacity for practical affairs then, despite his laborious 

What good will his excellence be to people? 
Literature should not only be an ornament for its creator, 
But should serve also to glorify the state. 

21 Referring to Ch'u Yuan and Chia I, according to Fan Wen-Ian. 

22 Referring to Tsou Yang and Mei Sheng, according to Fan. 


at lamented, or to lament *jj^ 

chan divination YL 


to spy or watch \r& 

chieh to untie, or a record of a 


chih ordinance 

chih a particle placed in the middle of 

a sentence to show a relationship 
between what precedes and 
what follows it 

chih to arrive 


chang a chapter 

ch'en to exhibit 

chi register 

ch'i contract 

chieh all \£ 

chieh to borrow )j£* 

chieh to tie a knot £*£» 



chi-hai she -ho 

cross the river or 

l the date of 

l& ># vf 


a ditty 



commentary, or 1 

:o comment 



notice, including 




to transfer 






middle, or norm 



a mid-particle to 
or addition 

show a transition 


fa regulation 

fu tally 





a satirical writing 



superficiality and untruth 

->* m. 





a particle to initiate the ideas 





sign, or signal 


humor, or jest 








an end particl 


a question or an exclamation 


an end particle, to indicate the 
completion of an idea 

a mid-particle to show instru- 
mentality, reason, etc. 

\ai a particle to introduce a fact or a 


appropriate ti 


to adhere ^/ffe 

to discuss j*i&i 


general truth jJL 

\ao to inform %& 


a conjunction to show a causal 
relation between the sentence it 
introduces and the previous one 



pass, or credentials 



to peruse 



narrative account 


lieh-feng yin-yii 

strong wind and continuous rain 

J'l iflp*'^ 











a road 






law, or pitch pipe 



a precis 



to discourse 



to set in order 



a short song 







stone monument 


walled terrace 


to close 


strange wind anc 



a literary compos 


one husband 


one wife 


to spread out 




p u 

vegetable garden 

san shih tu-ho three pigs cross the river 

shen chih tiao i the spirits have arrived 

shen-hsia great defect 


£'j ft->i3? 







V?. *#. 













situation, or condition, or contour 


to employ 


to resolve 


to take an oath, or military 





sales slip 


to bind or control 


to speak, or to discuss 


one of the two earthly branches 




to convey 

body, substance, form, or genre 

to condole 


Glossary 275 

tien important document 


ts at 




tz u 

tz u 

an end particle, to express an 



to cut or tailor 


a piece of instrumental music 




to please 


to pierce 


viva voce 


wei a particle to show a contrast to the 

idea in the previous sentence 

wei shih tso tse to be the standard of the world 

wei shih tso tse to be the thief of the world 

wen to inquire r *] 

Wu-tzu five persons ^ 3p 

yao a folk song sung without instru- -, 

mental accompaniment ^* 

yeh an end particle, to indicate the ^ 

conclusion of a sentence 




a leaf 






to talk 






a sad chanting 


to hide 


a corner 




a mid-particle to express a relation 

ship or comparison 


to please 


a song 






Absurdities, in literary works, 97 

Accusation, tsou, 130 ff. 

Admonition, function of poetry, xix; 

through jest, 79 
Agreement, couplet of, 193; declaration 

of, 57 
Ai, Han emperor, 24, 138 
Ai, duke of Lu, 92; elegy for Confucius, 

Ai, lament, 66 ff., 256 
Allegory, 28, 195; use of, in remonstrance, 

Alliteration, 183 
Allusion, factual, 202 ff. 
An, emperor, 238 
An, prince of Huai-nan, 26, 99, ill, 149, 

Analects (Lun-yii), xxi, 22, 101; on the 

wind, 12m 
Ancestors, elegies in honor of, 65 f.; royal, 

worship of, 138 
Ancestral temples, prayers before, 55 
Ancient Poems, 34 f. 
Ancient Poets, 26, 69; association of ideas, 

246; emotion and literary form, 176; 

and fu, 46, 247; lamentations of, 252; 

lei, 66; metaphors, 187; parallelism, 

191 f.; pi and hsing, 195, 198; rhyme 

scheme, 184; satires, 151; use of hsi, 189 
Animals, symbolism, 9, 133, 196 
An-jen, see P'an Yiieh 
An-kuo, see Sun Sheng 
Answers, literary form of, 141 
Anthologies, literary, xxiv, xxx, 33 
Apocrypha, 21 if., 124, 237, 242/2 
Appointment, official, refusal of, 128 f. 
Argument, 137 f. 

Aristophanes, classification of poets, xxxii 
Arrow, buckthorn, 59; inscribed, 6$ 
Art, patrons of, xxv; reflection of life, xix 
"Ascension to the height," quality of fu, 

"Bamboo Grove, Seven Worthies of," 266 
Bamboo slips, term, 86, no 
Battlefield, sacrifice to Deity on, 55 

Beauty, and spontaneity, 215; and truth, 

"Beginnings," four, 261%, 33, 49; seven, 40 

Being, and nonbeing, 103 

Bell of Ching, 60 

Biography, 87; in the pei, 68 

Bird(s), black, 65; chirping of, 23; mark- 
ings, and writing, 10, 208; parable of, 
81; red, 169 

Black bird, 65 

Blood, dipping fingers in, 58, 205 

Bone, in literary composition, 162 ff. 

Blue, color, 167 

Boo\ of Changes (I Ching), xxi, 7/2, gn; 
commentary, 105; on decisive judg- 
ments, 15; hexagrams, 121/2, 136, 178; 
hou, no; Li-sao and, 27; on literary 
composition, 229; literary forms, 20; on 
oracular judgments, 12; "Shuo-kua," 
105, 122/2; on ts'e, no; "Wen-yen," 
191, 230; Wings, xxxvw, 17 

Boo\ of Filial Piety, 22, 175 

Boo/{ of History, xxi, xxxvi, xliv; con- 
cerning the choice of language, xxii, 
15; classic of what was said, 84; com- 
mentary on, 104 f.; discussion of tz'u, 
4 f.; embellishment, 199; expedition of 
Lord Yin, 203; hsiin and tien, 11 2/2; 
"Hung Fan," 135/2; "I-chi," 11; Li- 
sao and, 27; literary forms, 20; on man- 
date of heaven, 111; proverbs, 153; style 
of, 170;;; "Ta-yii mu," 12/2; theory of 
poetry, xi; views, 17 

Book of Lord Shang, "Six Lice," 98 

BooI{ of Odes, see Boot{ of Poetry 

Boof{ of Poetry, xxi, xxxvi, xliii, xliv; cen- 
sure, 133; on chang, 127; commentaries, 
104; disciplined thought, 32; embellish- 
ment in, 199; five-word-line poems, 34, 
37; and fu, 45; "Great and Lesser Pref- 
aces," xi, xviii f., 233/2; "Kuan-chii," 195; 
line patterns, 188; list of four beginnings, 
17; literary forms, 20; "Lu-ming," 41; 
on ming, 115 f.; as model, 248; "Pin- 
feng," 14/2; proverbs, 153; six elements, 
161, 195 ff.; six-word and seven-word 
lines, 188; style of, 170/2; sung, 11, 50/7; 



Boo\ of Poetry (Continued) 

on ts'e, no; versions of, 26/7; "Ya," n, 
247; ya and sung, 29n 

Boo\ of Rites {Li-chi), xvn, xxi, 17, 78; 
commentary, 105; on comparison, 217; 
"Ju-hsing," 14; literary forms, 20; me- 
morial of censure, 133; "Pao-chi," 127; 
"Wang-chih," 13822; on words of a 
ruler, in; "Yueh-ling," 97 

Book, of Songs, see Boo\ of Poetry 

Books, burning of, 33, 96, 209, 235; er- 
rors in copying, 213 

Bow and arrow, 170 

Breath, or spirit, see Ch'i 

Breath control, 225 

Bronze, inscribed, 66 

Buddhism, xxiv, 103/2, 240/2 

Bull, black, sacrifice of, 54; red, 57 

Butcher, parable of, xvii 

Calamities, condolences for, 71 

Calendar, Chou, 84; Hsia, 84/2 

Carriage, inscriptions on, 59 

Carving of dragons, meaning of, xxxviii 

Casting, and cutting, 179 ff. 

Ceremonial rites, and sung, 50 

Censure, function of poetry, 33; see also 

Chan, divination, 148; and chan, to spy or 
watch, 149 

Chang, Han emperor, 113, 239 

Ch'ang, see Wen, king of Chou 

Chang, master, 172, 205 

Chang, chapter, 77, 129; to make clear, 
127, 186; memorial of thanks, 20, 171 

Chang Ch'ang, 60, 147, 209 

Chang Chien, 67 

Ch'ang-ch'ing, see Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju 

Chang Chou, 262 

Chang Ch'un, 124 

Chang Chiin, 129, 180 

Change, adaptability to, see Flexible adapt- 

Chang family, 241, 243 

Chang Han, see Chi-ying 

Chang Heng (P'ing-tzu), 24, 37, 200, 238, 
254; "Ch'i-pien," 75; "Chi-shih," 103; 
criticism of historical writers, 92; "Erh- 
ching," 47/2; fu, xxx, 156; on historical 
works, 131; "Hsi-ching fu," 168, 2i9f.; 
memorial re apocryphal writings, 25; 

"Nan-tu fu," 197; parallelism, 191; style, 
160; use of chi for women, 88; use of 
quotation, 204; tiao to, 72; "Ying-wen," 
74; "Yuan-pien," 35; "Yii-lieh fu," 200 

Chang Hsieh, see Ching-yang 

Chang Hsiieh-ch'eng, on Liu Hsieh, xlv 

Chang Hua (Mao-hsien), royal secretary, 
37, 113, 241; chang and piao, 128 f.; 
"Chiao-liao fu," 256; compositions, 42; 
parallelism, 193; on rhyme, 184; sub- 
ject of jest, 80 

Chang I, 9622, 106; hsi, 118; intrigue, 10522 

Chang K'ang, 3622 

Chang Lao, 55 

Chang Liang, Han general, 158 

Chang Min, 138 

Chang-piao, oral reports, 126 

Chang Sheng, 69 

Chang Shih-chih, 107 

Chang T'ang of the Han, 148, 228 

Chang Tsai (Meng-yang), 1222, 3622, 61, 

Chang Ying, 89 

Ch'ang-yii (Fu Hsien), 133, 139, 256 
Chao, Han emperor, 41, 65, 236 
Chao, king of Ch'in, 57, 60, 107 
Chao, decree, 20, 109 
Chao Chien-tzu, 3922 
Chao Chih, 146 
Chao-hun, 30 
Chao I, 254 
Chao-\ao, term, in 
Ch'ao Kung-wu, xlvi 
Chao-shu, pronouncement, no 
Chao Shuai, 250 f. 
Ch'ao Ts'o, memorial, 131; report on pien- 

2, 135; tui-ts'e, 141 
Chao Wu-tzu, 55 
Character, five elemental abilities, 266; and 

literary excellence, 21 
Chastity, parables re, 195 
Ch'en, prince, 4422, 67 
Chen, admonition, 20, 61, 171; epigram, 

Ch'en, to exhibit, 152 
Ch'en Fan, 131 
Cheng, earl of, 13, 14522 
Ch'eng, Han emperor, 41, 237; answer 

from Tu Ch'in, 14222; anthology ordered 

by, 34; salvages books, 96; fu, 47; re 

Pan Po, 135 
Cheng, emperor of the Ch'in, 51 



Ch'eng, king, 122 

Cheng, state, 43, 71, 251 

Cheng, licentious music, 8522 

Ch'eng-ch'i, 264 ff. 

Cheng Ch'iao of Sung, xviiiw 

Ch'eng-ch'iu, battle, 64 

Ch'eng Hsiao, 138 £. 

Cheng Hsiian, 4, 105, 148 

Cheng Hung, 115 

Ch'eng-kung Tzu-an (Ch'eng-kung Sui), 
241, 256 

Ch'eng Miao, 209 

Cheng-p'ing, see Ni Heng 

Cheng-shih, 102; period, xxxvi, 240 

Ch'eng-t'ang, of the Shang, 59, 234 

Cheng-tien, 203 

Chen I, 132 

Ch'en Lin, see K'ung-chang 

Ch'en P'ing, 265 

Ch'en Shih-hsiang, xxvii 

Ch'en Shou, Records of the Three King- 
doms, 90 

Ch'en-ssu (Ts'ao Chih; Tzu-chien), xxv, 
35> 37 f-; "Ch'i-ch'i," 75; ease in writ- 
ing, 156; elegies, 65; flaw in writing 
of, 216 f.; Hsii-shu, 5; "Huangtzu," 52; 
on individual talent, 172; "K'e-wen," 
74; re K'ung-chang, 259; re Li Yen- 
nien, 43; metaphors, 197; piao, 128; 
"Pien-tao," 104; prayer, 56; riddles, 82; 
songs, 44; style, 184, 239; use of allu- 
sion, 206 f.; "Wei-te," 125; re Yang 
Hsiung and Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, 210; 
works, 254 

Ch'en Sui, governor, 112 

Ch'en T'ai-ch'iu, 67 

Ch'en Tsun, 146 

Chess game, carved on Mount Hua, 60 

Chi, duke of Chou, 84 

Chi, prince, of the Shang, 203 

Chi, annals, 87, 139/2; chronicle of rulers, 
20, 53, 124; and chuan, 91 

Chi, to be in the midst of, 218 

Chi, to express ideas, 147; memoir, 165 

Chi, register, 148 

Ch'i, state, 71, 235 

Ch'i, breath or spirit, xiv, xxvi; as literary 
style, xxvi, 74; vitality or force, 172 

Ch'i, contract, 148 

Ch'i, dual meaning as piao or tsou, 134 

Ch'i, instrument, 198; particular things, 

Ch'i, strange or extraordinary, 218 

Ch'i, themes, 75 

Chia, highest category, 141 

Chia Chuan-chih, 138 

Chia Ch'ung, posthumous title, 139 

Chia I, Han poet, 30, 47, 72, 236; dis- 
course, 138; fu, 252; "Fu-niao," 48, 197, 
203 f.; memorial, 131; rhyme scheme, 
188; style, 160; tiao to spirit of Ch'ii 
Yuan, 71 

Chia K'uei, 76, 238, 253 

Chia Mi, 265 

Chiang Chi and Emperor Wen, 113/2 

Chiang-hou Chou Po, 265 

Chiang-piao, 89 

Chiang-tso period, 36 

Chiao, Hsia ruler, 27 f. 

Ch'iao, general, 61 

Chiao, to teach, and hsiao, 115 

Chiao-fu, 114 

Chiao-jih, bright sun, 246 

Chiao-liao, birds, 256/2 

Chiao-ming, mythological bird, 200 

Chiao-pien, term, 137 

Chiao-shih, officials, 139/2 

Chi-cha, prince of Wu, xix, 40, 43 

Chi-chi, hexagram, 202 

Chi Ching-chiang of Lu, 267 

Ch'i dynasty, xxxiii, 41, 243 

Chieh, last of the Hsia dynasty, 28 

Chieh, to advise against, 114L; warning, 

Chieh, all, and hsieh, 79 

Chieh, to borrow, 148 

Chieh, hexagram, 136 

Chieh, monument, 67 

Chieh, record of settlement, 148; to untie, 

Chieh, to tie or knot, 150 

Chieh-chieh, chirping, 246 

Chieh-chih, limitation and regulation, 137 

Chieh-ch'ih, warning, no, 114 

"Ch'ien," 10 

Chien, and fu, 45/2 

Chien, hexagram, 135/2 

Chien, one-winged bird, 123 

Ch'ien, to express feelings, 147; letters, and 

chi, 147; hexagram, 191; note, and tieh, 

Chien-an period, five-word-line poetry, 35: 

lament writers, 69; Seven Masters, 255 
Chien-ke, city, 61 



Chien-wen, emperor, 242 

Chi-fu (Ying Chen), 5, 241, 250, 255 

Chih, Han musician, 41 

Chih, to arrive, 70, 218; and tiao, 70 

Chih, to grasp, 218 

Chih, to institute, no; ordinance, 148, 150 

Chih, musical note, 182 

Chih, particle, 189 

Chih, pheasant, 14322 

"Chih gate and the two gates, The," 19 

Ch'ih-hen, 203 

Chih-tao, visit of condolence, 70 

"Ch'ih-yen," tunes, 41 

Chih-yin, term, 25 8 n 

Chih Yii (Chung-ch'ia), 5, 64 £., 241; criti- 
cal writing, 51 f.; on the function of 
literature, xxx; shu, 53; style, 256 

Ch'i-kuo, see Warring States period 

Ch'i-liieh, 96, 127 

Chin, prince of, 140 f. 

Chin, duke of, 6222 

Chin, state, 43, 71, 250 

Chin, vegetable, 185 

Chin dynasty, xi, 240, 258; difficult times, 
132; first three rulers, 139; * writers, 
139; literary works, xxvii, 36, 167; me- 
morials, 128 f.; and music, 42; records, 
90; talents, 192; words in use, 218; — ■ 
Eastern, xxxvi, 3622, 113; literature, 242; 
metaphysical discussions, 103 

Ch'in, marquis of, 140 f. 

Ch'in, state, burning of books, 33, 209; 
destroyed by the Han, 106; "Liu-shih," 
235; and the warring states, 86; "Wu- 
tu," 235 

Ch'in dynasty, 8622; destruction of ancient 
literature, 96; fu, 46 £.; musical clas- 
sics, 40; origin of tsou, 130; use of chao 
and ming, in 

Chinese language, characters, 208, 210; 
multiple meanings, of terms, xlvi, 108, 
no; signific element, 7922; tonal pat- 
tern, xxxi; tone and meaning, 22022 

Ching, Chin emperor, 228, 240 

Ching, Han emperor, in, 134; sung, 51 

Ching, prince, see Pei-hai 

Ching, mount, 122 

Ching, Classic principles, 7, 86, 101 

Ching Ch'a, 200 

Ching-ch'i, closing phrase, 134 

Ching-ch'un (Kuo P'u), 48, 241; "Chiao- 
fu," 257; "K'e-ao," 74; use of tsan, 53 

Ch'ing dynasty, xlv 

Ch'ing-hsiang, king of Ch'u, 8122 

Ching K'o, 53 

Ching-li, see Ting I 

"Ch'ing-miao," sung and, 51 

Ch'ing-shih, 96 

Ching-t'ung (Feng Yen), faults, 264; fu, 
253; inscriptions, 61; shuo, 107 

Ching-yang (Chang Hsieh), 36/2, 37, 257 

Ch'in Hsiu, 139 

Ch'in Kung, see Ch'in Yen-chun 

Ch'in Shih-huang, 60, 123 

Ch'in Yen-chun (Ch'in Kung), 104 

Ch'i-po, 44 

Chi-shu, ordinance, no 

Ch'i-tz'u, poetry in the form of "seven," 

Chiu-chang, 30, 149 

Chiu-ch'iu, 17 

Chiu-fang Yen, 153 

Chiu-huai, 30 

Chiu-ko, 30 

Ch'iu-ming, see Tso Ch'iu-ming 

"Chiung," sung and, 51 

Chiu-pien, 30 

"Chiu-shao," and sung, 50 

Chi-Ying (Chang-Han), 198, 256 

Chi Yiin of the Ch'ing dynasty, 4472 

Chou, emperor, 28; and willow tree, 23 n 

Chou, king, see Mu 

Chou, see Chuangtzu 

Chou, duke of, see Tan 

Chou, historian, 209 

Chou, state, 84 

Ch'ou, to pledge with wine, 218 

Chou dynasty, n, 250; compared with the 
Han, xxiii; elegies to King Wen, 65; 
five-word line, 188; inscription on buck- 
thorn arrow, 59; literary developments, 
126; ming and lei, 64; "Pai-kuan chen," 
61; poetry, 166; resistance of Shang 
brothers to, 72/2; and the ruler's words, 
in; use of antiphony, 191 

Chou Hsieh, 67 

Chou-li (Book of Chou institutions), 116, 
208 f.; on royal proclamation, no; term 
p'i ma, 220; tz'u, 151 

Chou Tun-i, 31/2 

Chronology, in historical writing, 90 

Chu, note or commentary, 101, 171 

Chu, pearl, 76 

Chu, prayer, 20, 54ff., 124 



Ch'u, ruler, 62 

Ch'u, state, 235; destroyed by the Han, 
106; laws compiled, 250; poetry of, 
3072, 33, 17772; rhyme scheme of songs, 
184; songs preserved, 41; story of shield 
and spear, 171 

Chii, to define a position, 186 

Ch'u, ditty, 77 

Chuan, biography, 20, 53; and chi, 91 

Chuan, commentary, 101 

Chuan, dual meaning, 85L 

Chuan, notice and obituary, 148, 152 

Chuan, seal style, 209 

Chuan, bond, 148, 150 

Chuang, king of Ch'u, 82; plan for horse's 
funeral, 7972; riddle, 81 

Chuang, duke of Cheng, 46 

Chuang Chi (Chih), allegory, 81 

Chuang Chou (Chuangtzu), on eloquence, 
175; lun, 102; and the Tao, 96 

Chuangtzu, concept of nonbeing, xxviiif.; 
on freshness and spontaneity, xliii; and 
fu, 242; intuitive insight, 109; mysti- 
cism, xvif.; Tao philosophy of, 36/2 

Chuangtzu, embellishment in, 176 

Chiian-tzu, Ch'ing-hsin (The mind of the 
lute) 3 

Chu Chih-wu, see Chu Wu 

Chu Chung, 76 

Ch'u dynasty, poets, xvii f ., 47; poetry, 166 

Chu-fu, i, 138 

Chu-fu Yen, 236 

Chu-ke Liang, see K'ung-ming 

Chu Mai-ch'en, 41 

Chu Mu, 61 

Chun, deer, 143, 260 

Chiin-ch'ing (Lou Hu), 107, 260 

Ch'un-ch'iu, Annals of, 55, 142; classic of 
what was done, 84; commentaries on, 
90; Confucius and, 85; discussion, 137 

Ch'un-ch'iu period, 34; chen, 61 f.; diplo- 
matic language, 250; increase in letters 
and emissaries, 145; military expeditions, 

Chung, middle or norm, 149 

Chung Ch'ang-t'ung, see Kung-li 

Chung-ch'en, 132 

Chung-ch'ia, see Chih Yii 

Chung Chun, 236 

Ch'ung-erh, of Chin, 251 

Chung Hsi, of Yueh, 193 

Chung-hsiian (Wang Ts'an), 35, 38, 48, 

102, 239; "Ch'i-hsi," 75; "Ch'u-fa," 102; 
faults, 264; quoted, 1972; speed in writ- 
ing, 156 f.; style, 160; "Teng-lou fu," 
193; tiao, 72; works, 255 

Chung Hui, hsi, 119; "Kao," 250; revision 
of Yii Sung's memorial, 228 

Chung Hung of the Liang, xi, xxxra; rules 
for tonal pattern, xxxi; Shih-p'ing, xxxii 

Chung I, of Ch'u, 193 

Chung-jen, see Wang Ch'ung 

Ch'ung-kuo, 51 

Chung-lu, 24 

Chung-ni, see Confucius 

Chung-shan Fu, tripod, 60 

Chung-yuan, see Ying Shao 

Chung-tsung, 244 

Chung-yii (Hsiin Yueh), 24, 25 

Chiin-shan, see Huan T'an 

Ch'un-yii K'un, 79 

Ch'u P'ing (Ch'u Yuan), inner nature, 
263; poetry, 235; spirit of feng and 
sao, 249; references to Ancient Poets, 

Chu P'u, 104 

Ch'u-shueh chi, collection, 13972 

Ch'u-tzu (Sao), poetry of the state of 
Ch'u, 2572, 4572, 166, 251; "Chao-hun," 
55; and the Classics, 29; compared to 
the Li-sao, 28; description in, 247; style 
of, 237 

Chu Wu (Chu Chih-wu), 105 

Chu-yai (Hainan island), 138 

Ch'ii Yuan (Ling-chun), 252; character, 
266; Ch'u-tz'u, 251; critical opinion of, 
27; influence, 237; Li-sao, 2572; rhyme 
scheme, 185; and the Sao style, 46; tiao 
to spirit of, 71; works, 30 

City walls, ironic comment on painting of, 
79; and parable of fish, 8172 

Classic of Kuei-tsang, 98 

Classic of Music, apocrypha, 122 

Classics, burned, 96/2; characteristics, 
xxxv f., 20, 159; commentaries on, 4, 
104; compared to apocrypha, 22; cri- 
teria of literary excellence, xxxiii; de- 
cline, 235; discussions by scholars, 102: 
edited and collated, 237; errors in, 213: 
Li-sao and, 27; plagiarism of, 219: prin- 
ciples, 137; rise in study of, 236; Six, 
xiii, 11; as source and model, xxi, 17 ff., 
164, 170, 205; works developed from, 



Classics (Continued) 

97; works of the sages and worthies, 
95; as yen, 230 

Classification, literary, xxxn 

Coin, use of, 139 

Color, patterns, 8, 175; use of, in descrip- 
tion, 247 f. 

Commemoration, sung, 51 

Commentaries, lun in, 104; as pi, 230; writ- 
ing of, 219 f. 

Comparison, proper use of, 217 

Condolence, occasions for, 70; yen, 152 

Confucius (Chung-ni), apocrypha attrib- 
uted to, 22 f.; biography of, i8«; on 
the BooI{ of Poetry, xii; canonized, xvii; 
and Ch'un-ch'iu, 85; and the Classics, 
11, 17, 95/2, 101; elegy for, 64; and 
Laotzu, 95; literary form, 13 ff.; liter- 
ary works, 16; in Liu Hsieh's dream, 4; 
on moral value of poetry, xii; and the 
people of Lu, 50; on periods of Duke 
Ting and Duke Ai, 92; and the raccoon 
song, 78;?; reaction to decline of Chou, 
85; "San-fu," 14; school of writing, 100; 
source of literary inspiration, xxi; Spring 
and Autumn, 14; and the Tso-chuan, 
2772; re sunflower, 206 f.; and the uni- 
corn, 14372; warning of a tilted vessel, 
59; and the "Wings" of the Boo\ of 
Changes, xxxv, 10 

Congratulations, and condolences, 71 

Consonance, kinds of, 183 

Copying, errors in, 213 

Couplets, xlii, 37, 191 

Court, imperial, piao to, 129; recital of 
chen, 63 

Court of State Ceremony, 52 

Crab, 78 

Creative process, xv, xxxiii, 155 £., 158 f., 
162, 178, 180, 204; main patterns in, 
175 f.; nature of, xxiv; oneness with ap- 
preciative critic, xxxviii, 258 ff.; and shen, 
xvii; and vitality, 223; Wen-ju re, xxvii 

Crime, involvement of innocent women, 


Critic, understanding, 258 ff. 

Criticism, literary, xl, 264; basic principle, 
xxv ; re contemporaries, 257; develop- 
ment of, in ancient China, xi ff.; prob- 
lem of semantics, 109; reduced to dog- 
ma, xxii; term, xxxvii; utilitarian at- 
titude, xii 

Crow, red, 24 

Dances, 41; and sung, 5072 

Dead, elegy for, 64; untimelv, lament for, 

Deities, sacrifice to, 54 

Derision, songs of, 78 

Description, exaggeration as embellishment, 
198 ff.; repetition of radical in, 212; and 
sound patterns, 246 

Dialogue, host and guest, 125 

Discussion, 136 ff. 

Diagrams, 23 

Diplomacy, language of, 250 f. 

Discipline, literary, xxxi; of poetry, 31 

Divination, 772, 12, 9872 

Dragon(s), 27, 28, 235; carving, see Em- 
bellishment; tail of, 81; yellow, gift of, 

Dreams, of Liu Hsieh, 3 
Dynasties, nine, writers of, 249 ff.; ten, 

244 f. 

Earth, god of, sacrifice to, 55; pattern of, 9 

Edicts, elegiac, 56; royal, no, 114 

Elegance, tien and ya, 159 

Elements, literary, in Boo\ of Poetry, 2672; 
six, 33 

Embellishment, literary, xxxi, xxxviii, xii, 
3, 16, 159 f., 163, 174 ff.; as description, 
198 ff.; development of, 222; excessive, 
141, 164, 177 f., 201; and factual writ- 
ing, 142 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 17772 

Emotion (s), and choice of literary form, 
180; five, 175; function of music and, 
xv ; literary expression of, xxxix, xlii, 6, 
32, 129, 174 ff.; and style, 164, 169 f. 

Enfeoffment, script of, 109, 112 

Enlightenment, mystical, xvii 

Envoys, bearers of shu, 145 

Erh, particle, 189 

Erh-shih, emperor of the Ch'in dynasty, 

7i> 79 
Erh-ya, dictionary, 18, 210 
Essential, the, emphasis on, 15; expression 

of, 174 f. 
Eunuchs, 220 
Evaluations, literary, 7; criteria of, xxxix; 

see also Criticism, literary 
Exaggeration, in description, 199, 206 



Examinations, competitive, 132, 141; for 

official appointment, 127; state, 241 
Execution, power of, 138 

Fa, regulation, 148, 150 

Falcon, venom-bearing, 29 

Fame, achievement of, xxxviii, 3 

Fan Chii, 197, 251 

Fan family, 243 

Fang, prescription, 148, 149 

Fan Sui, shuo, 107 

Fan Wen-Ian, 110/2 

Fan Yeh of Liu Sung, xviii/2 

Fei Lien, 60 

Fei-lien, mythological bird, 200 

Feng, sage, 12 

Feng, lyrical style, xli, 26, 50, 195, 249; 
and ya, spirit of, 29; literary form, 176 f.; 
phoenix, 14372; satire, 77; wind, 162 

Feng-hou, 95 

Feng-lung, god, 29 

"Feng-shan," rites of sacrifice, 123 ff. 

Feng Yen, see Ching-t'ung 

Field, deity of, 54 

Figures of speech, 196, 199 ff.; see also 
Allegory; Metaphor 

Fish, one-eyed, 200; parable of, 81; white, 

Fish eyes, stringing of, 76 

Fishhawks, parable, 195; six, 19 

Five Emperors period, 117, 222 

Flexible adaptability to change, xx, xxiii f., 
xxx, xxxiii, xxxvi, 15, 165 ff., 179, 248; 
vs. traditionalism, xliii 

Flowers, as poetic element, 37 

Flute, 184, 197 

Folk songs, 166/2; five-word form, 69; of- 
ficially collected, 40; two-word line, 188 

Forms, literary, xxvi, xxix; adaptation of 
style to, 165 ff., 171; choice of, 
179 ff.; classification, 109; communica- 
tion through, 31; Confucius and, 13; 
confusion in use of terms for, 108; de- 
velopment of, 11; and emotional situa- 
tion, 157; functions, xxxv; historical 
changes in, xxxix; and individual talent, 
170; origin in the Classics, 20; two arche- 
typal, 9 

Fou, musical instrument, 205 

"Frank speaking," 135 

Fruits, as poetic element, 37 

Frustration, expression of, 75 

Fu, prince, see P'ei 

Fu, authenticity, 150 

Fu, particle, 189 

Fu, poetic prose, xviii, xxvi, xxix, 20, 165, 

171, 176, 188, 195, 196; analysis of, 

45 ff.; of the Han, 166; humorous, 79; 

origin of, xxxvi f.; and pi, 197; themes, 

47; and tiao, 71; tonal pattern, xxxi; 

use of loan characters, 210; writers of, 

xx f., 242, 251 f. 
Fu, tally, 148, 150, 171 
Fit, to touch, 218 
Fu-fei, 29 
Fu-hsi, see Pao-hsi 
Fu Hsien, see Ch'ang-yii 
Fu Hsiian, 42, 92, 241; faults, 265; stvle, 

Fu-hui, meaning, 225 
Fu I, poet, 35, 238, 253; "Ch'i-chi," 75; 

elegies, 65 f., 213; "Hsien-tsung" sung, 

52; Pan Ku re, 259; "Hsi-cheng," 51; 

style, 253 
Fu-Keng-sheng, xlv 
Fu-san, the mythical tree, 168 
Fu-ssu (Wang Pi), 102, 105 
Fu Tseng-hsiang, xlv 
Fu Yueh, 134/2 

Geese, norm set by, 125 

Generals, faults, 265 

Genius, xxxviii, xlii, 258 ff.; see also Crea- 
tive process 

Gold, yellow, 24 

Government, argument re changes in, 
137/2; Fu and, 47; memorials, 127; and 
music, xix, 40; office for collecting poems 
and songs, 33/2; and shuo, 105; six 
functions, 4; state of, reflected in litera- 
ture, xix, xxxvi, 131, 234, 240, 242 f. 

Gratitude, expression of, 126; piao, 147 

Great Change, number of, 6 f. 

Great Operation, number of, 7/2 

Great Trinity, 17, 21 

Great Void, see Nonbeing 

Greece, classical era, xi 

"Green Diagram," apocrypha, 2],, 122 

Hainan island, 138/2 
Hall of Rites, 113 
Han An-kuo, argument, 138 
Han dynasty, categories of memorials, 127; 
compared with the Chou, win; concept 



Han dynasty (Continued) 

of literature, xiv; Court of State Cere- 
mony, 52; elegies, 44, 64 f.; fu, 47; fu 
and sung, 166; / writers, 139 f.; litera- 
ture, 235 f., 252; memorials, 127; oath, 
57; office of historian, 91, 111; poetry 
of, 177/2, 196; po-i, term, 137; record 
of military achievements, 86; rules of 
character writing, 209; sacrifices, 55; 
scholars, ion, 135, 235; tally, 150; three 
tunes, 42; — , Former, xvii f ., 37; philo- 
logical achievements, 208; six-word and 
seven-word lines, 188; — , Later, xi, xviii, 
257 f. 

Han Fei, 99; "Ch'u-shuo," 259; on em- 
bellishment, 175; query re Kung-Sun 
T'an-hui, 151; "Shuo-nan," 256 

Han-fei-tzu, "Five Worms," 98 

Han-fei-tzu, embellishment in, 176 

Han-shu, 90, 23072 

Han-tan, city, gait, 76 

Han-tan Ch'un, see Tzu-shu 

Han-tsu, (Kao-tsu), first Han emperor, 41, 
44, 115, 193, 244; "Ta-feng" and 
"Hung-ku," 235 f. 

Han Yii, 32/2 

Hao, 10 

Harmony, in music and in literature, 184; 
rules of, 39 

Heaven (s), central, 39; nine, invocation 
of, 58; pattern of, 8; sacrifice to, 54 

Hen, proverb re, 152 

Hexagrams, ion, 15, 13572; chieh, 136; 
ch'ien, 191; hou, no; kuai, 144; h^un, 
191; pi, 178; King Wen re, 202; re- 
alignment of lines, 215 

Historian, fidelity to fact, 93; office of, 84 f., 
91, in; treatment of contemporaries, 

History, literary form, xxii, xxxix, 83 ff.; 
principles for writing of, 90; progressive 
theory of, see Flexible adaptability to 
change; recording of, 208; tien and hsiin, 
257; yin in records of, 82 

History of Liang, xxxiv 

Ho, emperor, 238 

Ho, harmony, 184 

Ho family, 243 

Ho-kuan-tzu, 99, 204 

Homophone, pet, 66n 

Homophonous reading, 219 

Horace, xxxviii 

Horse, and carriage, 220; heavenly, 41; 
funeral for, 79; white, 57 

Horse-dragon, 22 

Ho-t'an-chia, 40 

Ho Tseng, 139 

Ho-t'u, see Yellow River Map 

Hou, hexagram, no 

Hou-chi, ancestor of the Chou, 65 

Hou-han-shu, annals and biographies, 89 

Hou-i, 62 

Hou P'a, official, 112 

Ho Yen (P'ing-shu), 36, 102, 240, 255 

"Ho-yiieh," musical accompaniment, 4272 

Hsi, empress, 51 

Hsi, duke of Lu, 137 

Hsi, to confer, 218 

Hsi, metrical particle, 189 

Hsi, proclamation, 20, 117, 118, 171 

Hsia, story of bow and arrow, 170 

Hsia Chi, absurdities, 97 

Hsia dynasty, 2872, 250; bronze tripod, 59; 
four- word line, 188; \ao, 84; nine ac- 
complishments, 11; "Tiao-ch'iang," 166 

Hsia-hou Hsiao-ju (Hsia-hou Chan), 241, 

Hsia-hou Hsiian, see T'ai-ch'u 

Hsi An, 41 

Hsiang, king of Ch'u, 79, 196 

Hsiang, sign or signal, 150 

"Hsiang-ho ko," musical accompaniment, 

Hsiang Hsiu of the Chin, 217 

Hsiang-ju, see Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju 

Hsiang Yii, king of Ch'u, 8672 

Hsiao, prince of Liang, 252 

Hsiao, to imitate, 115 

Hsiao-hui, emperor of the Han, 88 f. 

Hsiao Kang, of Liang dynasty, xxv 

Hsiao-shan, see Su Shun 

Hsiao T'ung, of Liang dynasty, xxx; Wen- 
hsiian, xxv, xxx/2 

Hsiao-wu, emperor, 242 

Hsiao-ya, 26 

"Hsia-yu," song, 34 

Hsi Chien, 67 

Hsieh, five teachings, 115 

Hsieh, humor, 79 

Hsieh Ai, 180 

Hsieh Ch'eng, 89 

"Hsieh-ching," folk song, 34 

Hsieh family, 243 

Hsieh Shu-yuan (Hsieh Hun), 257 



Hsieh Tsung, 220 

Hsien, Han emperor, 113/2, 239 

Hsien, prince of Ho-chien, 41 

"Hsien," music, 39 

Hsien-liang, term, 141 

Hsien Mo, sung, 50 

Hsien-tsung, see Ming, emperor 

Hsi Hu, 267 

Hsi K'ang (Shu-ya), 36, 37, 102, 146, 161, 

217, 240, 255 
Hsin Chia, historian, chen, 62; "Yii-chen," 

Hsin dynasty, fall of, 119 
Hsing, allegory, 26/2, 195, 196; and ming, 

"Hsing-lu," poem, 34 
Hsi-shih, ancient beauty, 76, 192 
"Hsi-tz'u," 18, 22 

Hsiu-lien (Ying Chii), 36, 146, 240, 255 
Hsiung, "odd," 211 
Hsu, empty, 174/2 

Hsu, prefatory form, 20, 87, 101, 171 
Hsiian, Chin emperor, 240 
Hsiian (Kung-sun Pin-chi), Han emperor, 

230, 209, 236; ///, 47; letter to Ch'en 

Sui, 112; on Li-sao, 27; poetry, 41 
Hsiian, king of Chou, 209 
Hsiian, queen of Ch'in, 88 
Hsiian, mysterious, 102/2 
Hsiian-p'u, 27 
Hsiian Wu-she of Hsiao, 81 
Hsiian-yiian, see Yellow Emperor 
Hsiieh Tsung, 80 
Hsiieh Ying, 89 

Hsui-ts'ai, outstanding talents, 143 
Hsu Kan, see Wei-ch'ang 
Hsu Ling, of Liang dynasty, xxv 
Hsiin, to elucidate or admonish, 218; to 

give instruction, 112/2 
Hsiin-ch'ing, see Hsiin K'uang 
Hsiin Hsu, 42 
Hsiin K'uang (Hsiin-ch'ing, Hsiintzu), 

xiii, 12/2, 92, 97; in Ch'u, 235; fu, 48, 

251; "Li" and "Chih," 46; on literary 

expression, 130; principle of music, xv; 

"Ts'an-fu," 82; utilitarian approach, xiv; 

works of, 99 
Hsiin-tien, classical, 125 
Hsiintzu, see Hsiin K'uang 
Hsiin Yiieh, see Chung-yii 
Hsiu-po (Po Ch'in), 239 
Hsu Shen, lexicographer, 10/2, 208/2 

Hsu Yang-yuan, 24/2 

Hu (state), and Yiieh, 228 

Hii, particle, 189 

Hua, mount, 60 

Hua Ch'iao, 89 

Huai, Chin emperor, 241 

Huai, character, 213 

Huai-nan, see An, prince 

Huai-nan-tzu, 98, 208/2 

Huan, Han emperor, 131/2, 238 

Huan, duke of Ch'i, 117, 122; re women 

and government, 88 
Huang, emperor, see Yellow Emperor 
Huang-chung, note of scale, 149, 185 
Huang Hsiang, character, 266; tsou-ch'ien, 

1 47 

Huang Kuan, 132 

"Huang-niao," poem of lament, 69 

Huang-ti, see Yellow Emperor 

Huang T'ing-chien, xlv 

Huang Tsu, 146 

Huan I, 67 

Huan Lin, 75 

Huan T'an (Chiin-shan), 5, 24, 71, 156, 

260; on individual talent, 172; rhyme 

scheme, 188; on stylistic ornamentation, 

167; works, 253 
Huan Wen, 119 
Hua Yuan, 78 
Hui, emperor of the Han, 51 
Hui-chen, monk, xxxiv 
Hui-hsing, little stars, 246 
Hui-shih, 97 

Hui-ti, Buddhist name of Liu Hsieh, xxxiv 
Huitzu, elegy for, 64 
"Hui-wen" poetry, 38 
Hu Kuang (Po-shih), 67, 72, 127; "Pai- 

kuan," 62 
Human affairs, feng and ya, 50 
Human nature, absolute principles, 17 f. 
Humor, 78 ff. 
Hung-fan, 5 
"Hung-fan," 22 
Hung-ming chi, xxxiii 
Huns, 202/2 
Hunting, fu re, 200/2 
Huo Tzu-hou, 69 
Hu Yung-lin, xlv 

I, of Hsia, 27 f.; shooting down of the 

suns, 29, 98 
I, ruler of Yu-ch'iung tribe, 221 



I, minister of Shun (Yu), 52, 191, 250 

/, to adhere, 68 f. 

/, discourse and discussion, xxvi, 101, 127, 
137 f., 144, 171; requirements for writ- 
ing of, 140; tui-ts'e and she-ts'e, 141 

/, to dispatch, 120, 171 

/, particle, 189 

7, righteousness, xiv 

7, suitable, 135 

I Ch'i, 54 

I Chih (I Yin), xiii, 52, 158; "I-hsiin," 
250; memorial to T'ai-chia, 126; skuo, 

7 Ching, see Boo\ of Changes 

Ideas, association of, 246; clarification of, 
186; development of, 227; literary form 
of expression of, 14, 179 ff., 231; rela- 
tion to thought and language, 156 

I-fu (Wang Yen), 103 

/-/', feeling of attachment, 246 

Illustrations, Five, 15 

Images, Four, 15, 215 

Imagination, xlii, 154 

Immortality, belief in, 131; cult of, 36; 
quest for, 94; Taoism and, 225/2 

Impeachment, tsou, 132 

Inscriptions, gold, 123; of imperial achieve- 
ments, 122; stone, 66, 124 

Insight, intuitive, 109, 155 f., 157 

Inspiration, Confucius as source of, xxi; 
Wen-fu on, xxviii 

Instruction, four elements of, 21; and 
genius, xlii; and talent, xxvi; see also 

Insult, law re, 138 

I tribe, King Chao's oath to, 57 

I Tun, 253 

"I-wen chih," 127 

I-wu, see Kuan Chung 

I Yin, see I Chih 

l-yin, 95 

Jade, pendant, 81, 185; pipe, 4272; powder, 
237; purple, 24; tablets, 10, 123; tally, 
150; vessel, 57 

Jao-ch'ao, ts'e, 145 

Jou, i^n 

Juan Chi, see Ssu-tsung 

Juan Hsien, 42 

Juan Yii (Yuan Yu), 239; chang and piao, 
128; ju and hsi, 255; letter-writing, 146, 
157; on Liu Hsieh, xlv; tiao, 72 

Jui Liang-fu, 78 

Jung, casting, 179 

Ju-nan, prince of the Later Han, 69 

Ju-tzu Ying, 89 

Kai, particle, 189 
K'ang, king of Chou, 23 f., 122 
Kang, 1572 

K'ang-hui (Kung-kung), 29 
Kan Lung, 137 

Kan Pao of the Chin, 90, 242, 257 
Kant, Immanuel, 1272 
Kao, emperor, 39B 

Kao, to inform, 76; style of, xxxvi, 84 
Kao Hou of Ch'i, 217 f. 
Kao-kao, brightly burning, 246 
Kao-kuei hsiang-kung, ruler, see Mao 
Kao T'ang-lung, 132 
Kao-tsu, see Han-tsu 

Kao-tsung (Wu-ting), emperor, 134, 202 
Kao Yao, 190, 250 
Karlgren, Bernard, 2772 
Ke, folk song, 20, 171 
"K'e-chu," guest-host ju, 46/2 
Ke Hung of the Chin dynasty, xxiii, xxx f. 
Keng-\'uei, riddle, 81 
Ke-tien, song, 206 
Ke-t'ien-shih, 32, 39 

"King Without Crown," title of Confu- 
cius, 12 
K'ou, to knock, 218 
K'u, ruler, 50 
Ku, particle, 189 
K'uai, hexagram, 15, 144 
K'uai K'uei, 55 
K'uai T'ung, 106 
Kuan, pass or credentials, 31/2, 148; and 

pi, 151 
Kuan Chung (I-wu), 122; faults, 265; 

hsi, 117; ling, 150; on practice of i, 137; 

on sound and emotion, 216; works, 99 
K'uang, music master, 41, 263 
K'uang Heng, 131 
Kuang-wu, emperor of the Later Han, 24, 

in, 238; letters, 112; sacrifices, 123; 

stone inscription, 124; and Tu Tu, 65 
Kuan Yin, 265 
"Ku-chu," poem on, 35 
K'uei, ancient music master, 41, 263; eight 

timbres, 250 
K'uei, one-legged monster, 194 
"Kuei-hua," tune, 41 



Kuei-ku, 96 

Kuei-kj4'tzu, 99, 106/2 

"Ku-ming," 115 

"K'un," 10 

K'un, mount, 202, 208 

K'un, hexagram, 191 

Kung, musical tone, xviii, 171, 182, 211; 
and shang, 226 

K'ung An-kuo, 17/2, 105 

K'ung-chang (Ch'en Lin), 239, 259; chang 
and piao, 128; faults, 264; fu and hsi, 
255; hsi against Ts'ao Ts'ao, 119; piao, 
128; proverb, 153 

K'ung Chia of the Hsia dynasty, 39 

K'ung Ch'iu, see Confucius 

K'ung Jung, see K'ung Yung 

Kung Kan, see Liu Chen 

K'ung Kuang, 133, 265, 266 

K'ung K'uei, 60 

Kung-kung, see K'ang-hui 

Kung-li (Chung Ch'ang-t'ung), 87, 99 

K'ung-ming (Chu-ke Liang), 115, 128 

Kung-sen Hung, 236 

Kung-sun (Lung-tzu), 98 

Kung-sun Hui, 251 

Kung-sun Hung, 142, 236 

Kung-sun Pin-chi, see Hsiian, emperor 

Kung-sun T'an-hui, minister, 151 

Kung Yang, 1972 

Kung-yang Kao, 92 

K'ung Yung (Wen-chii), 115; false charge 
against, 133; faults, 264; "Hsiao-lien," 
104; letters, 146; memorial re Ni Heng, 
128; pi, 254; stone inscriptions, 67; vital- 
ity, 163 

K'un-kang, mount, 253 

K'un-lun, mountain, 27 

K'un-wu, metallurgist, 59 

Kuo Chang, 265 

Kuo-ch'iao, see Tzu-ch'uan 

"Kuo-ch'in lun," 103 

Kuo-jeng, 26 

Kuo Hsiang, 103 

Kuo Kung, 138 

K'uo P'u, see Ching-yang 

Kuo Yu-tao, 67 

Ku Yung, 131 

Lai, to bestow, 218 
Lan, to peruse, 77 

Language, beauty of, 156, 160; and cere- 
mony, 14; choice of, xxii, 15; and con- 

tent, 248 ff.; diplomatic, 250; and emo- 
tion, xxxv, xxxix, 246; and ideas, 98; 
key to apprehension, 154; and truth, 
xvi; see also Words 

Laotzu (Po-yang; Tan), 37, 102; on beau- 
tiful words, 175; and Confucius, 95; 
philosophy, 242; Tao principle, 36/2; on 
tao and te, 95 

Law, officers of, 132; studies of, 102 

Learning, and experience, 155, 157, 168, 
261; and literature, xiv; proper method 
of, 161 

Legalism, in argument, 137/2 

Legalists, 131 

Lei, elegy, xxvi, xxix, 20, 45??, 56, 64, 171, 
256; and sung, 66 

Letters, chao as, in; types of, 153 

Lexicography, 209 

Li, king, 234 

Li, duke of Chin, 117 

Li, mount, 131 

Li, hexagram, 15 

Li, principle of conduct, xv, 131 

Li, style of script, 209 

Liang, prince, 107 

Liang dynasty, xi, xxv, xxxiii 

Liang, a couple, 220 

Liang Chi, 264 

Liang-fu, mount, 123 

Lice, six, 98 

Li-chi, see Boo\ of Rites 

Li Ch'ung, xxx/2 

Lieh, character, 213; narrative account, 148, 

Lieh-chuan, biographies, 87 

Lieh-yii-k'ou (Lieh-tzu), 97, 99 

Lien-chu, continuous string of pearls, 74, 
76, 171 

Li I-chi, 106 

"Li-ho" poems, 38 

Li K'ang, 103 

Li Kuang, 148, 177/2 

Li Ling, 34 

Li-tnu, 95 

Lin, see Ch'en Lin 

Lin, unicorn, 143/2 

Ling, emperor, 239 

Ling, duke of Wei, 60 

Ling, order, no, 148, 150 

Ling-chun, see Chii Yuan 

Li-sao, xliii, 72; and the Classics, xxxvi: 
fantastic tales in, 29; as model, 248 



Li Ssu, prime minister, 204, 217; and 
Ch'in's chuan, 209; legalist inscriptions, 
123; lexicon, 2ion, 211; memorial, 131, 
251; shuo, 107 

Li T'ang of Shang, 54 

Literary composition, choice of words and 
characters, 211; cutting, 232; flaws in, 
216 ff.; immortalization through, 94; 
miscellaneous forms, 73 ff.; opening and 
closing, 228 f.; organization, 225 ff.; re- 
condite and conspicuous elements, 214 ff.; 
six points for study, 262; structure, 
186 ff.; Wen-fu on, xxviif.; wind and 
bone, i62ff. 

Literature, appreciative critic and, xlv; clas- 
sification, xxxix; development, xxxviii, 
233 ff.; function, xxx, xli; growth in 
esthetic awareness, xxiv; law and merit 
of, 169; and learning, xviii; and na- 
ture, xxxv, xxxviii; pure, xxii, xxv 

Liu An, see An, prince of Hsui-nan 

Liu Chen (Kung Kan), 5, 35> 38, 239; 
ch'ien and chi, 147; lien-chu, 76; on 
literary styles, 172; metaphors, 197; rhet- 
oric, 255; style, 160; vitality, 163 

Liu Chih-chi, xlv 

Liu Chi-hsu, 259 

Liu Fang, secretary of the Wei, 113 

Liu Hsiang, see Tzu-cheng 

Liu Hsieh (alias Yen-ho), xi, xxxiii; and 
Buddhism 1030; Buddhist name, xxxiv; 
classicism, xxxiv, xliiiff.; on Confucius, 
16; personal style, xliv; prosodic laws, 
xxxi; view of literary criticism, xxxvii; 
Wen-hsin tiao-lang, xxx ff. 

Liu Hsien-kung, 117 

Liu Hsin, 167, 253, 260; *', 120, 138; 
rhyme scheme, 188; "Sui-ch'u fu," 204; 
re Yang Hsiung, xxi 

Liu K'un of the Chin, iron oath, 58; me- 
morial to Emperor Yuan, 129; parallel- 
ism, 193; style, 257 

Liu-sha, 27 

Liu Shao, 240; "Chao-tu fu," 205, 255 

Liu Sung, memorial, 132 

Liu Sung period, 243, 257, 258 

Liu T'ao, 65 

Liu-t'ao, two lun, 101 

Liu Wei, of Chin, 133, 241 

Li Yen-nien, composer, 41, 44 

Li Yu, ju and ming, 253; inscriptions, 61 

Lo, goddess of, 201 

Logic, in fundamental principles, xxxv; 
in literary style, 159; studies of, 102 

Lords, military expeditions, 117 

Lo-shu, see Writing from the River Lo 

Lou Hu, see Chiin-ch'ing 

Love songs, 43 

Loyalty, classic example of, 28, 72/2 

Lii, Han empress, 88 

Lu, state, xix, 27 f., 50 

Lu, record, 148L 

Lu, road, 149 

Lu, law, 148 f.; pitchpipe, 149 

Luan, conclusion, 47 

Lu Chi of the Chin (Shih-heng), xi, 48; 
and his brother Yun, 241; ch'ien, 147; 
discussion of biographies, 139; faults, 
265; historical writings, 90; * to the hun- 
dred officials, 120; influence of Chuang- 
tzu, xxviiif.; "Kung-ch'en," 52; lien-chu, 
76; musical nature of writing, 184; 
"Pien-wang," 103; songs, 44; style, 
161, 181, 256; tiao to Wei Wu, 72; Wen- 
ju, quoted, xxvii ff ., xxxvii, 5, 181, 
184, 230; "Yuan-k'uei," 206 

Lu Chia, historian, 47, 106 f.; Ch'u-han 
ch'un-ch'iu, 86; Hsin-yti, 99; works, 252 

Liieh, precis, 77 

Lii Hsiang, hsi, 117 

Lii-hsien, in Shangtung province, xxxiii 

Lu I, ch'ien, 147 

Lii-lan (Lu-shih ch'un-ch'iu), 86 £., 97, 99 

Lun, discourse, 20, 99, 101 ff., 137; essay, 
xxvi, xxix, 171 

Lung, short song, 77 

Lung-tzu, see Kung-sun 

Lung-yu, city, 111 

Lun-yu, see Analects 

Lu P'ei, 142 

Lii Pu-Wei, 102 

Lii Shang, ioi«; see also Lii Wang 

Lii-shih ch'un-ch'iu, see Lii-lan 

Lute, 184 

Lu Ts'ui (Wen-wei), 239; charge against 
K'ung Yung, 133; faults, 265; memoirs, 
255; poverty of, 265 

Lii Wang, 59; see also Lii Shang 

Lu Wen-shu of Han, 151 

Lu Yiin (Shih-lung), 5, 223; on form 
vs. content, 172; on four-word line, 188; 
style, 181, 256 



Ma, see Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju 

Ma, character, 209 

Ma Jung, see Ma Yung 

Man, in the Great Trinity, 9 

Mandate, ming, no 

Mandate of Heaven, 21, 23, in 

Mao, description, 152 

Mao Ch'ang (Lesser Mao), 26/2, 105/2 

Mao-ch'iang, ancient beauty, 192 

Mao Heng (Great Mao), commentary on 
Boo\ of Poetry, 26/2, 45/2, 195; philo- 
logical commentary, 105 

Mao (Kao-kuei hsiang-kung), 240; rid- 
dles, 82 

Mao-hsien, see Chang Hua 

Mao Sui, 57 

Maps, 3, 23 f.; see also Yellow River Map 

Maxims, ancient, 203 

Ma Yuan, 115 

Ma Yung, 4, 51, 238, 265; "Ch'ang-ti," 
197; faults, 264; "Kuang-ch'eng sung," 
168; style, 253 f. 

Medicis, xxv 

Mei Kao, 47, 236; faults, 80; writing 
speed, 156 

Mei Sheng, Han poet, 30, 47, 236, 254; 
character, 266; "Ch'i-fa," 73, 168, 252; 
rhyme scheme, 188; "T'u-yiian," 48, 

Memorials, forms of, 126 ff., 171 £.; oral, 
126, 130; on posthumous titles, 152; se- 
cret, 135; shuo as, 107; tsou and ch'i, 
130 ff. 

Mencius (Meng K'o), xli, 96; on the Boof^ 
of Poetry, xiii, 200; in Ch'i, 235; on 
ch'i, xiv; re moral depravity, 22372; on 
mystical experience, xvi; ridicule of 
Mohists, 133; studies by I. A. Richards, 
xlvi; works, 99 

Meng, oath, 20, 57 

Meng-chien, see Pan Ku 

Meng K'o, see Mencius 

Meng-shan, prayer to, 57 

Meng-ssu, the mythical pool, 168 

Meng-yang, see Chang Tsai 

Metaphor, xlii, 28, 47 

Metaphysics, 103, 240/2, 242; treatises on, 

Meteorites, five, 19 

Milfoil stems, divination by, 12, 121 

Military tactics, fa and, 150 

Min, Chin emperor, 241 

Mind, literary, xxxviii, 3; types of, 231; 

vigor of, 223 
Ming, emperor of the Eastern Chin, 113 
Ming (Hsien-tsung), emperor of the later 

Han, 51; chao, 112 £.; discourse on 

rites, 239; literary interests, 240 f.; pane- 
gyric to, 217 
Ming, inscription, xxvi, 20, 52, 59 ff., 171; 

and chiao, 116; four categories, no; 

mandate, 150; mnemonic, xxix 
Ming-i, hexagram, 203 
Min-ma Fu, 47 
Mirror, pendant, 62 
Miu Hsi of the Wei dynasty, 44, 240 
Mohists, xiv, 133 
Mo Ti, 96, 99, 133 
Mountains, inscriptions on, 60, 122; and 

rivers, 57, 212 
Mourning, 55, 78/2; royal, 56 
Mu, king of Ch'in, 69 
Mu, king of the Chou, 56, 66, 114, 117 
Mu, duke of Ch'in, 251 
Mu, duke of Tsou, 152 
Mu, literary form, 84, 90 
Music, characteristic of an age, xli; linked 

with meaning, 40; and literature, 182 ff.; 

in nature, 9; and poetry, xi, xli, 32; 

popular, 262; principle of, xv; reflection 

of government in, xix, 40; and sung, 

50/2; ya and sung, 85 
Musical instruments, materials for, 44/2; 

metal rule for, 42/2; and the voice, 182 
Music masters, blind, 43 
"Mysterious butcher," 155 
Mysticism, xvi, 23 

Nan-kuo, 185 

Nan Shih, 94 

Narrative, "guest-host," 46; see also Fu 

Nature, descriptions of, 245 ff.; and lit- 
erature, xxxv, xxxviii; patterns in, 8, 9; 
sounds and appearances, 167 f. 

Neo-Confucians, 31/2 

Ni Heng (Cheng-p'ing), 128, 146; faults, 
264; tiao to P'ing-tzu, 72; wen, 254; 
writing habit, 157 

Ni K'uan, 228, 236 

Nirvana, 103/2 

Niu, mount, 223 

"No," the, 47, 51 

Nonaction, concept, 102/2 

Nonbeing (Great Void), xxix, 103 



Nothingness, or void, 102/2 
Nu, word, 211 

Oath, 57 £., no, 1 16 £., 205 

Odd and strange, in literary works, 160, 

183, 211, 222 £., 230 f.; wrong use of, 

Odes, xxxvii, 11 
Officials, character of, 265; exhortations to, 

61; one hundred, 61 f. 
Omens, 85, 122L, 142 
Oracular judgments, n 

"Pai-hsing," term, now 

Pai-hu hall, 102 

Palaces, fu on, 47 

Pan, woman palace official, 34 

Pan Chi (Pan Chao), sister of Pan Ku, 115 

P'an Hsu, Classics as model for, 163; 
"Chiu-hsi," 113; conferment edict, 254; 
lien-chu, 76; on tallies, 62 

P'an-keng, Yin ruler, 203 

Pan Ku (Meng-chien), historian, 92, 238, 
239, 265; chi to Empress Lii, 88; re 
Ch'ii Yuan, 27; and the Classics, 205; 
criticism of, 93; faults, 264; epigraph, 
60; fu, xxx, 46; re Fu I, 259; historical 
writings, 87; "Hsi-tu fu," 200; "Liang- 
tu," 48; literary talent, 253; metaphors, 
197; "Pei-cheng," 51; "Pin-hsi," 74; 
prayer to Meng-shan, 57; style, 160; 
sung, 51; "Tien-yin," 124; tsan, 53; use 
of quotation, 204 

P'an Ni, 36/2, 62 

Pan Piao (Shu-p'i), 72, 87; memorials, 
238; "Wang-ming lun," 102, 253 

Pan Po, 135 

P'an Yiieh (An-jen), 36/?; elegies; 57, 65; 
flaw in writing of, 217; forged prayer, 
265; fu, 48; "Hsi-cheng fu," 256; joke, 
80; laments, 69; proverb, 153; style, 
161, 184; "Ying-fu," 197 f. 

P'an Yiieh Chan, 241 

P'ao, musical instrument, 216 

Pao-chuang-tzu, 207 

Pao-hsi (Fu-hsi), legendary ruler, 10, 24, 
88; and the six lexigraphic principles, 
208 f. 

Pao Yung, 107 

Parables, 195 

Paragraph, 186 

Parallelism, linguistic, 190 ff., 220 f. 

Particles, 189 

Paso, 17 

Pattern(s), changes in, 12; human, 9 f.; 

literary, xxxixf.; musical, 185; sound, 

xxxi; three (color, sound, and emotion), 

175; as universal quality, 8 
Peach and plum trees, 177 
Pearls, in magnolia case, 141; stringing, 76 
P'ei (Fu), prince, 238 
Pei, inscription, xxix, 66, 171 
Pei-hai (Prince Ching), 66 
Pei-hsien Fu, prince, 24 
P'ei Wei, 103 

P'eng Hsien, worthy of the Yin dynasty, 29 
Pheasants, good omen, 142 
Philology, 208 ff. 
Philosophy, ancient China, xi, 100/2; and 

literature, xxii, 176; works of, 94 ff. 
Phoenix, 27, 85 
Phonetic compound, 21 2/2 
Pi, brush, 229/2; unrhymed prose, 6, 229; 

useful literature, xxiv 
Pi, hexagram, 121;;, 178 
Pi, metaphor, 26/7, 195, 196 f. 
P'i, one of a pair, 220 
Piao, ch'i used as, 134; to express, 127, 

129; memorial of feeling, 171 
Piao-piao, fast and heavy, 246 
Pieh, character, 213 
Pi en, argument, 137 
Pien, change, 175/2 
P'ien, literary form, 77 
Pien-i, term, 135 
P'i-fu, parallelism in use of, 220 
P'i ma, term, 220 

"Pin" lyrics, see under Boo\ of Poetry 
P'ing, Han emperor, 24, 209 
P'ing, empress, 88 
P'ing, king of the Chou, 84 f., 234 
P'ing, critique, 101 
P'ing, flying tone, 183 
P'ing-shu, see Ho Yen 
P'ing-tzu, see Chang Heng 
P'ing-yiian, prince, 106/2 
Pitch, standard, 42 
Pitch pipes, 39/2, 42, 149 
Plagiarism, 219 
Plato, xii, 95« 
Po, mixed, 137 f. 
Po-chieh, see Ts'ai Yung 
Po Ch'in, see Hsiu-po 
Po-chii, 30 



Po Chu-i, and moral insight, xix 

Poetry, 31; Classical definition expanded, 
xxix f., xxxiii; development and function 
of, 31 ff.; distinguished from fu, 46; ele- 
ments of, 37; emotion and literary form, 
176; function of remonstrance and ad- 
monition, xix; and government, xix; line 
patterns, xxx«, xxxii, 34, 37, 38, 69, 70, 
187; and music, xxxvi f., 32, 5072; 
"round robin," 236; and sound, 43; the- 
ory of, xi; utilitarian view of, xxxvi 

Poets, classified by merit, xxxii 

Po-i, condolences to, 72 

Po-i, memorial, 137 f., 143 

Po-liang, tower, 34, 38, 236 

Po-lu, $6n 

Po-shih, see Hu Kuang 

Po-shih, learned men, I20n, 142 

Po-yang, see Laotzu 

Praise, function of poetry, 33; mixed with 
censure, 52, 53; in sacrificial prayer, 56 

Prajna, 103 

Prayers, 55, 123 

Pretentiousness, literary, 173, 218 f. 

Profundity, in literary works, 159, 260 

Pronunciation, standardized, 209 f. 

Prophecy, maps as symbols of, 23 

Prosody, laws of, xxxi 

Proverbs, ancient, 152 

Pu, to spread out, 151 

Pu, warrant, 148 

P'u, chronicle, 148 

P'u, vegetable garden, 148 

Purple, color, 25 

Pu-wei, see Lu Pu-wei 

Quotation, from earlier writers, 254 

Raccoon, 78 

Radical, repetition of, 212 

Rain, prayers for, 54 

Rainbow, 169 

Reading, homophonous, 219 

Realism, in description, 248 

Reasoning, in Spring and Autumn Annals, 

Recruits, hsi re, 120 
Records, terms for, 148 
Red, color, 25, 167; mixed with white, 

127; words, 10 
"Red Book," apocrypha, 23, 122 
Reference, textual, 202 ff . 

Remonstrance, inscriptions, 59; memorials 

of, 131; poetic, xix, 28, 34 
Repetition, of characters, 212 
Reverence, expression of, 146 
Revision, literary, 228 
Rhetoric, 165; editing of, 179; overuse of, 

Rhyme, 183, 188 
Richards, I. A., xlvi 
Riddles, 82 
Rites, Five, 4; imperial, 238; see also Book. 

of Rites 
"Round robin" poetry, 34/2, 38 
Rule, metal, for measuring pitch, 42 
Rulers, chi reserved for, 88/2; inscriptions 

to, 59 f., 122; prohibition re name of, 

13472; women, 88; words of, in 

Sacrifice(s), to all the deities, 54; gen- 
erals as, 69; to heaven and earth, I2iff.; 
officer of, 55; and walled terraces, 66 

Sage, definition, 13; and government, xxiii 

San- } en, 10, 17 

San-kung, office, 147 

San-lii, 51, 196 

Sao, lament, 249; analysis of, 25 ff.; and 
jeng and ya, xxxvi; and fu, 46; literary 
style, 170; use of pi and hsing, 196 

Sao of the Ch'u, see Ch'u-tz'u 

Sarcophagus, 60 

Scale, chromatic, 149/2; five-note, 17m, 
18222; intervals, 39; notes. 4222, 148, 
182; twelve-tone, 185 

Scholar (s), competition among, 216; defi- 
nition, 13; discussions called lun, 102; 
eight talented, 135; and government, 
266; selection of, 141, 143 f. 

Schools, Nine, 83, 96 

Script, double, 210 

Seasons, 84, 245 

Seng-yu, edits Buddhist sutras, xxxiii 

Sentence, 186, 189 f. 

Seven Epitomes of Literature, 96/2 

Seven States period, letters, 145; ling, no; 
memorials, 126 f. 

"Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove,*' 

Shan, 24, 124 

Shang (Yin), 972; ancestor of the Shang, 
33, 6572, 116, 203 

Shang, to appreciate, 218 



Shang, musical note, xviii, 171, 182, 211 
Shang dynasty, 11, 28/2, 250; book of 

divination, 98a; poetry, 166; shih, 84; 

sung, 50 
S hangs hu, meaning, 131 
S hangs hu to-chuan, 213 
Shang Yang, 96, 137 
Shanshih, contour of a mountain, 169/2 
Shao, duke, on chen and fu, 45 
Shao, xii 
Shao-hao, 24 

"Shao-hsia," 41, 175, 206 
Shao-k'ang, 27/2, 28/7 
Shaoshao, brilliant, 246 
She, lord of, 81 
Sheep, sacrifice of, 55 
Sheepskin, in cryptic message, 82/2 
Shen, concept of, xvi 
Shen Chung of the Northern Chou, xviii/2 
Shen family, 243 
Sheng, musical instrument, 216 
Sheng-chi, King Mu's concubine, 56 
Shen-hua, term, xx 
Shen Nung, see I Ch'i 
Shen Pu-hai, 96 
Shen Shu-i of Wu, 81 
Shenssu, spiritual thought or imagination, 

154 ff. 
Shen Tao, 99 
Shen Yiieh, xxxi, xlv 
She-ts'e, memorial, 141 
Shield and spear, 171 
Shih, formula, 148 f. 
Shih, historical writing, 171; official, 64, 

Shih, oath, 45/2, 77 
Shih, poetry, 31 ff. 
Shih, to resolve, 151 
Shih, solid, 174/2 
Shih, style, 169/2, 170 
Shih Chao, 71 
Shih-chi, 90, 98 
"Shih-chia," biographies, 87/2 
Shih Chiao, 96, 99 
Shih-ching, see Boo\ of Poetry 
Shih-chiu bird, 195 
Shih-ch'ii palace, 102 
Shih-heng, see Lu Chi 
Shih-hsii, 233 ff. 
Shih Hui of Sui, 250 
Shih-lung, see Lu Yun 

Shih Ts'en, 51 

Shih Wei, 46 

Shou-ling, Han-tan gait, 76, 174 

Shou-yang, mount, 72/7 

Shu, to bind or control, 150 

Shu, epistle, xxvi, 127, 131, 144, 165, 171 

Shu, narratives, 53 

Shu, operation, 148 f. 

Shu, sales slip, 148, 151 

Shu-ch'i, condolences to, 72 

Shu-chi, forms of, 148 

Shu-ching, see Boo\ of History 

Shu Hsi, joke, 80 

Shu-hsiang of Chin, 117 

Shun (Yu-yii), legendary ruler, xii/2, 28, 
238; "Hsun-feng," 233 f.; "Nan-feng," 
32, 189; on poetry, 31; prayer to the 
field deity, 54; royal warning, 116; sacri- 
fice to T'ai-shan, 122; re shu, 144 

Shun tree, 178 

Shuo, argument, xxix, 20, 45/2, 101, 105, 

Shu-p'i, see Pan Piao 

Shu-sun T'ung, 41 

Shu-t'ung, see Ts'ao Pao 

Shu-ya, see Hsi K'ang 

Signific element, 212/2 

Silkworm, 78 

Six Dynasties period, xliv 

"Small Talk," literary form, 83 

Snail, antenna of, 97 

Social customs, Boo\ of Rites and, 18 

Songs, nine, 39; popular, 78; reflection of 
government in, 234; string- and wind-ac- 
companied, 42; style of the nine dynas- 
ties, 166 

Songs of Ch'u, 188 

Son of Heaven, 59, 118 

Sorcerer, 52/2, 56 

Sounds, choice of, 185; pattern of, 175, 
186, 211, 246 

Sparrows, divine, 238 

Speech, kjung and shang, 211 

Spelling, reverse, 219 

Spirits, prayers to, 50; tiao to, 71 

Spontaneity, xliii, 215 

Spring and Autumn Annals, xxi; em- 
bellishment, 222; Five Illustrations, 17; 
literary forms, 20 

Ssu, prince (Ts'ao Chih), 255 

Ssu-chih, officials, 136 



Ssu-^'u ch'uan-shu chien-ming mu-lu, xlv 

Ssu-ma Ch'ien (Shih-ch'ien; Tzu-ch'ang), 
86, 92, 236, 252, 260; chi to Empress 
Lii, 88; criticism of, 93; letter to Jen- 
an, 145; literary quality, 87; Shih-chi, 
79 f-> 95«> 123; tsan, 53 

Ssu-ma Chih, 139 

Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, 30, 34, 47, III, 156; 
character, 267; criticism of, 210; dispatch 
(1), 120; faults, 264; "Feng-shan," 123; 
fu, xviii, xx, xxx, 71, 163; lexicon Fan- 
chiang p'ien, 209; literary models, 252; 
lowly station, 265; parallelism, 191; 
"Shang-lin," 48, 168, 192, 200, 204, 206; 
songs, 41; style, 160, 247; tsan, 53; 
"Tzu-hsii fu," 259 

Ssu-ma Piao, works of, 89 

Ssu-ma Shih, 228/? 

Ssu-ma T'an, historian, 86 

Ssu-tsung (Juan Chi), 161, 240, 255 

Ssu-t'u, office of, 112, 115/2 

Stone, inscriptions on, 60 

Stone Chamber, 204 

Stone monument, pei, 66 

Style, literary, xli, 1581?.; changing periods 
in, 167; ch'i, xxvi; choice of, 169 ff.; de- 
velopment of, 237 f.; eight kinds, 159; 
evolution of, 222 f.; and individual tal- 
ent, 180 f.; pretentiousness in, 218 f.; 
pure and impure, 97 f.; wind and bone 
in, 162 ff. 

Su Ch'in, 71, 96/2, 106, 251 

Sui-ch'ao, 99 

Su-jan, mount, 123 

Sun, ceremonies of welcome to, 55 

Sun Ch'o, 37, 67, 257 

Sun Ch'u, 241, 256, 265 

Sunflower, poem, 206 f. 

Sung, state, 70, 192 

Sung, ceremonial and sacrificial songs, 
xxix, 20, 26/2, 50, 56, 125, 171, 176, 
196; of the Han, 166; and lei, 66; music 
of, xv ; and tsan, 53; words in, 218; and 
ya, 235; Yin, 47 

"Sung," see under Boo\ of Poetry 

Sung period, development of poetry, 37; 
literary style, 167; mysticism, 103 

Sung Hung, fu, 253 

Sun Sheng (An-kuo), 242, 257; Yung- 
ch'iu, 90 

Sung Yii, 252; Ch'u-tz'u, 251; "Feng" and 
"Tiao," 46; fu, 48; "Kao-t'ang fu," 
197; re "Pai-hsueh," 262; references to 
Ancient Poets, 203; "Shen-nii fu," 192; 
style, 235; tui-wen, 73; use of exaggera- 
tion, 200; witty fu, 79; works, 30 

Sun Wu-tzu, Sun-tzu, 267 

Su-shen tribe, buckthorn arrow, 59 

Su Shih of the Sung, xxi 

Su Shun (Hsiao-shan), 65, 69 

Swallow, 39/2, 65/2 

Symbolism, 23 f. 

Ta, to convey, 151 

Ta-chao, 30 

Ta-ch'u, hexagram, 203 

Tai, marquis, see Tou Jung 

Tai, songs of, 41 

T'ai, mount, 122 

T'ai-ch'ang, office, 120, 142 

T'ai-chia, 126 

T'ai-ch'u (Hsia-hou Hsiian), 102 

T'ai-ch'ung, see Tso Ssu 

T'ai Hao, 10/2 

T'ai-k'ang, 33 

T'ai-kung, 105 

T'ai-p'u of the Chou, 132 

T'ai-tsu, 243 f. 

T'ai-wang, 234 

Talent, individual, xxvi, xxxi, 3, 38, 164 f., 
172, 259 ff., 266; differences in, xli, 
156, 1 58 £., 216; and learning, xxxiii, 
204; and literary organization, 227; and 
literary style, 170 f.; and vitality, 223 

Tan, duke of Chou, 11, 15, 50, 59 

Tan, see Laotzu 

T'an, see Ssu-ma T'an 

Tan-fu, discussions, 136 

T'ang, legendary sage-king, 28, 54 

T'ang dynasty, xix, 13, 109 f.; development 
of writing, 11; parallelism, 190; poets, 
44/2; prosody, xxxii; Tien, 84; "Tsai- 
hsi," 166 

Tao, deviations from, 24; mind of, 12, iS; 
sages and, 12; source of literature, 6; 
and te, 95, 122 

Tao, principle, xiv, xv f., xxxiv, 31;;, 94, 
199, 240/2; pattern of, 9 

T'ao Ch'ien of the Chin dynasty, xxxii 

Taoism, xv f., xxiv, xxxvi, 36, 102/7, 131/; 

T'ao-t'ang, legendary ruler, 233 



Tao-te-ching, xxi, 9572 

Tao Yuan, 38 

Taste, sense of, 105, 185 

Ta-ya, major ya, i6n 

Te, particular principle, 95, 122 

Te-lien, see Ying Yang 

Temperament, effect on literary works, 159 

Temples, ancestral, 66 

Teng, forest, 208 

Teng Ts'an of the Chin, 90 

Teng Yii, 107, 112 

Te-tsu (Yang Hsiu), 239, 255 

Thought, individual speed of, 156; or- 
ganization of, 226 

Three Kingdoms period (Hsia, Shang, 
and Chou), 89/2, 115, 117; chen, 61; 
embellishment, 222; form of agreement, 
57; language in time of, 222; literary 
works, 29; ming, no; rulers advised by 
common people, 137; San-fen of, 17; tal- 
ly, 150 

T'i, genre, 169/2 

Tiao, to condole, and chih, 70 

Tiao Hsieh, 241 

"Tiao-lung," dragon carving, in 

Tieh, memorandum, 148, 151 

Tieh, one-eyed fish, 123 

Tien, documents, 76, 84, 86, 11222; lit- 
erary form, 90; style of, xxxvi, xli, 159 

Tien, 18, 1972 

Tien-\ao, style, 28 

T'ien-lu ko, 74 

Tien-mu, 124 

T'ien Pa, 259 

Tien-wen, 30 

Tien ya, style, xliv 

Ti-hsing, 158 ff. 

Timbres, eight, 44, 250 

Ting, duke, 92 

Ting I (Cheng-li), 255, 264 f. 

Ting I (Ching-li), 259 

Ting-lin Monastery, xxxiii 

T is hih, term, 16977 

Title, bestowal of, 126; posthumous, 64, 
70, 139, 152 

Tombs, monuments and, 67 

Tones, 39; in language, and colours, xxxi; 
musical, kinds of, 182 

Tortoise, divine, 22; shells, 12, 61, 121 

Tou Hsien, 60/2, 264 

Tou Jung (Marquis Tai), 51 

Traditionalism, vs. flexible adaptability, 

Tranquility, and literary composition, 224 
Trigrams, 10, 1772, 2222 
Tripod (s), bronze, 59; inscribed, 60, 63; 

nine, 106 
Truth, attainment of, xvi; and beauty, xxii; 

felicitous expression of, xxix; function 

of Ian, 104 
Tsai, to convey, 3272; particle, 189 
Ts'ai, to cut or tailor, 150, 179 
Ts'ai Mou-fu, lord, 117 
Ts'ai Tse, 197 
Ts'ai Yung (Po-chieh), 72, 238, 254; re 

court rituals, 131; epigraphs, 61; "Fan- 

ch'ii," 51; "Hsi-hui," 74; parallelism, 

191; stone inscriptions, 67; use of quota- 
tion, 204 
Tsan, commentary, 52, 87, 101; eulogy, 

Ts'ang, prince, see Tung-p'ing 
Ts'ang-Chieh, historian, 84; invention of 

characters, 208 
Ts'ang-chieh p'ien, lexicon, 210 
Tsang Ho, 78 
T'sang Hung, 58 
Tsang Wen-chung, 59, 81/2, 82/2 
Ts'an-tz'a, descriptive phrase, 246 
Ts'ao, instrumental music, 77 
Ts'ao Chih, see Ch'en-ssu 
Ts'ao Chii, 211 
Ts'ao Hung, 20722 
Ts'ao Jen, 207 
Ts'ao Mo, 57 

Ts'ao Pao (Shu-t'ung), 24, 223 
Ts'ao P'ei, founder of Wei dynasty, see 

Wen, emperor 
Ts'ao Shu, 256 

Ts'ao Ts'ao, see Wu, Wei emperor 
Tse, principle, 149 
Tse, sinking tone, 183 
Ts'e, edict, 20; horsewhip and bamboo 

slip, 14522; records, 86; script, 109 
Tseng-lun, term, 137 
Ts'e-shu, script of enfeoffment, no 
Tso, to pledge a host in wine, 218 
Tso Ch'iu-ming, 50, 85, 87 f., 94 
Tso-chuan, 27 
Tso Hsiung, 127 
Tso Ssu (T'ai-ch'ung), 38, 241; "Ch'i- 

feng," 75, 217; fu, 48, 156; musical na- 



ture of writing, 184; "San-tu-fu," 256; 

Three Capital Fit, xxix £. 
Tsou, ch'i used as, 134 f.; memorial, xxvi, 

xxix, 20, 127, 132, 147, 171; word of 

mouth, 126, 130 
Tsou-chi, term, 147 
Tsou-ch'ien, term, 147 
Tsou Shih, 3, 235 
Tsou-shu, memorial letter, 147 
Tsoutzu (Tsou Yen), 96, 99, 235 
Tsou Yang, Han poet, 236; character, 266; 

memorial, 252; shuo, 107 
Tsou Yen, see Tsoutzu 
Ts'ui family, 238 
Ts'ui Shih, Cheng-lun, 99; "Ta-chi," 74; 

tsou-chi, 147 
Ts'ui Ssu, "Ch'i-su," 76 
Ts'ui Tung-pi, 9522 
Ts'ui Yin, "Ch'i-i," 75; classical allusions, 

204; elegy for Chao, 65; "Pai-kuan," 

62; "Ta-chih," 74; style, 253; weapon 

inscriptions, 61 
Ts'ui Yuan, 253; "Ch'i-su," 75; elegies, 

65, 217; lament, 69; letter writing, 146; 

"Wen-hsiieh," 51 
Tsung-shu, art of writing, 229 ff. 
Ts'ung-wen Kuan monastery, 240 
Tu, 24 

T'u, plant, 199 
Tuan-mu, 105 
Tu Ch'in, 107, 142 
Tui, to please, 105 
Tui-ts'e, memorial, 141 f., 236 
Tui-wen, literary form, 73 
Tu K'uei, 42 

Tung Chung-shu, xvii, 142, 252 
Tung-fang So (Tung-fang Man-ch'ien), 47, 

56, 260; admonishment to his son, 115; 

enigmas, 82; faults, 80; "K'e-nan," 74; 

letter, 145 
Tung Hsien, 133, 265 
Tung Hu, 94 
Tung-kuan, academy, 89 
T'ung-pien, flexible adaptability, 165 
Tung-p'ing (Ts'ang), prince, 98, 238 
Tung Tso, 58ft 
Tung-yeh Chi, horseman, 221 
T'u-shan, 39 
Tu Tu, 253; elegies, 65; faults, 264; lei, 

237; lien-chit, 76; lowly station, 265 
Tzu, philosophical work, 95 
Tz'u, form of poetry, 4; and fit, 177; and 

hsiin, 5; judgments or oracular state- 
ment, 12/2, 20; and pi, 197; viva voce, 
148, 152; writer of, 48 

Tz'u, language, 4 

Tz'u, to pierce, 148, 151 

Tzu-an (Wang Kung-sui), 48 

Tzu-ch'an of Cheng, 14, 145, 152 

Tzu-cheng (Liu Hsiang), editor of the 
Classics, 44, 96, 237; on fu, 46; "Hsin- 
hsii," 253; Shuo-yiian, 99; style, 160; 
tsou and i, 254 

Tzu-chia of Cheng, 145 

Tzu-chien, see Ch'en Ssu 

Tzu-ch'uan (Kuo-ch'iao), 251 

Tzu-fan, 145 

Tzu-hsia, xviii, 18, 33 

Tzu-huan (Ts'ao Pe'i), see Wen, Wei em- 

Tzu-hung, chi to, 89 

Tzu-kao, 50, 78/2 

Tzu Kung, 13/2, 129 f. 

Tzu-shu (Han-tan Ch'un), 124, 239, 255 

Tzu-shu Ching-shu, 145 

Tzu-shun, 5072 

Tzu-t'ai-shu, 251 

Tz'u writers, poetry, 247 

Tzu-yiian, see Wang Pao 

Tzu-yun, see Yang Hsiung 

Unicorn, Confucius and, 143/2, 193; as 

omen, 143/2; symbol, 85 
Universe, legislation for, 12 
Unnamable, the, 10222 

Vacancy and tranquility, 155 

Vastness, as theme, 168 

Virtue(s), influence of, 122; inner, 127; 

and literary excellence, 130; man of, 

100; ming and, 59; nine, 40 
Vitality, physical, literary composition and, 

160, 162 f., 172, 222 ff.; manifestation 

of, 184 
Voice, human, 182 

Walled terrace, pei, 66 

Wang Chi, 62, 131, 180 

Wang Ch'ung (Chung-jen), xxii, 156, 
238; on characters, 208/2; Laotzu f{'ao-i y 
9572; Lun-heng, 103; on nourishing 
vitality, 222; progressive theory of his- 
tory, xxx; writing methods, 22^ 

Wang family, 243 



Wang Fu, 99 
Wang I, 27, 253 f. 
Wang Kung-sui, see Tzu-an 
Wang Lang, 62, 132, 254 
Wang Mang, 119 

Wang Pao, 47, 48, 237; bond for slave, 
150 f.; rhetoric, 252; "Tung-hsiao," 197 
Wang Pi, see Fu-ssu 
Wang Shou-chih, historian, 90 
Wang-sun, Ch'iao-hsin (The artistic mind), 


Wang Tao, 67 

Wang Ts'an, see Chung-hsiian 

Wang Wan, memorial, 130 f. 

Wang Yen, see I-fu 

Wang Yen-shou, 4772, 48 

Wang Yung, see Yiian-ch'ang 

War, proclamation of, 116 ff. 

Warning(s), astrological, 13272; royal, no, 
114; writing of, 62 

Warring States period, 99; embellishment, 
222; great men of, 96; literary works, 
29 f., 62, 95, 251; proclamations of 
war, 117 f.; shu, 146; Vertical Alliance 
and Horizontal Confederacy, 86, 105, 


Way of Heaven, doctrine, 16, 230 

Weapons, inscribed, 61 

Wei, king of Ch'i, 79, 82 

Wei, particle, 189 

Wei Ao, laws, 250 

Wei-ch'ang (Hsu Kan), 35, 239, 266; fu, 
48, 255; laments, 69; vitality, 163 

Wei Chiang, of Chin, 62 

Wei dynasty, xxv, 41 f., 89, 132; letter 
writing, 146; piao and chang, 128; phil- 
ological studies, 210; poetry, 166 f.; tri- 
pod, 60; writers, 192; Yuan-feng pe- 
riod, 258 

Weights and measures, 20972 

Wei Hsiao, 119 

Wei Hung, xviii; "Preface" of Boo\ of 
Poetry ascribed to, xi 

Wei K'ai, 113 

Wei K'o, 60 

Wei Liao, 99 

Wei-liieh, 89 

Wei Meng, 33 

Wei Mou, 98 

Wei Tan, 264 

Wei-wen, see Wen, Wei emperor 

Wei-wu, see Wu, Wei emperor 

Wen, Ch'i emperor, 244 

Wen, Chin emperor, 240 

Wen, Han emperor, in, 12372; hsien-li- 
ang, 141; "Ssu-shih," 41 

Wen (Ts'ao P'ei), Wei emperor, 35, 20772, 
254, 255; conception of ch'i, xviii, xxvi, 
xlii; edicts, 113; elegy for, 65; essay on 
literature, 147; Hsien's abdication in 
favor of, 1 1372; inscribed weapons, 61; 
jokes, 80; re literary critics, 260; riddles, 
82; Shu-tien, 5; style, 254; substitutions 
for coin, 13972; Tien-lun lun-wen, xxv, 
255; tz'u and fu, 239; usurper, 7272; on 
vitality of style, 163; on writers, 264; 
on writing and music, 231; ytieh-fu, 254 

Wen (Ch'ang), king of Chou, 95; "Chou- 
nan" lyrics, 234; on hexagrams, 202; 
oracular judgments, n; and the "Red 
Book," 23; songs honoring, 65 

Wen, duke of Chin, refusal of appoint- 
ment, 128 

Wen, to inquire, 77; pure literature, xxiv; 
rhymed writings, 6, 8, 229 

Wen-chang, literary pattern, xl, 4, 174 

Wen Ch'iao, royal secretary, 67, 113 f., 241; 
chen, 62; memorial, 132, 257 

Wen-chii, see K'ung Yung 

Wen-hsiian, 19772, 198/2 

Wen Shu, memorial, 131 

Wen T'ai-chen, see Wen Ch'iao 

Wentzu, 14, 99 

Wheelwright, xvii, xxvi, xlii, 155, 158 

White, color, 33, 52, 54, 178 

Wind, 40; or breath, in literary work, 
162 ff. 

"Wind and Bone," xli 

Wo, to hold, 218 

Wo-jo, descriptive term, 247 

Women, involvement in a family crime, 
139; as rulers, 88 

Wondrous, the, 37 

Words, choice of, 105, 180, 208 ff., 218, 
230, 248; emphasis on, in shu, 144; order 
of, 173, 186; paired, 191 

"Worm-carving, art of," 49 

Worms, five, 98; nibbling on leaves, 23 

Writers, criticism of and by, 258 ff., 264 

Writing, art of, 226, 229 ff.; emergence 
of, 10; preparation for, xxvii; see also 
Literary composition 

Writing from the River Lo (Lo-shu), 10, 
12, 22 



Wu, Chin emperor, 114, 240 f. 

Wu, Han emperor, xvii, 8472; bureau for 
collecting songs, 39/2; Chang's memorial, 
228; elegy for, 217; encouragement of 
learning, 236; hunting party, 200; "Lai- 
ch'ih," 44; letters, 111; lexicon, 209; 
poetry of, 34; sacrifices, 69, 123; and 
Sao, 26; selection of scholars, 141; re 
Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, 259; Yiieh-ju estab- 
lished, 41 

Wu, emperor of Liang, xxxiv 

Wu (Ts'ao Ts'ao), Wei emperor, xxv, 72/2, 
21772, 239, 240; re hen, 88; hsi against, 
119; honored, 113/2; Mandate of Heaven, 
2472; on Master Chang, 205; memorials 
of refusal, 128; oath, 12072; revolution 
against Shang dynasty, 7272; on rhyme 
schemes, 188; tiao to, 72; on use of hsi, 
189; on warnings, 114 

Wu, king of the Chou, 59, 88 

Wu, prince, warned by Tsou Yang, 107 

Wu, kingdom, 10372 

Wu, state, sword casting, 192 

Wu, nothingness, 10272 

Wu-chen, 145 

Wu Ch'i, 265 

Wu-ch'iu Shou-wang, 13872, 236 

Wu Chii, 81 

Wu-chung, see Fu I 

Wu Han, 65 

Wu Hsien, 52 

Wu Kuang, 3372 

Wu-ling, king of Chao, 60, 137 

Wu-lu, 89 

Wn-ming, inscriptions, 61 

Wu-tien, 17 

Wu-ting, see Kao-tsung 

"Wu-ts'ai," definitions, 26672 

Wu-tzu, five persons, 3372 

Wu Tzu-hsii, 29 

Ya, literary form, xxxvi, xliii, 26, 50, 176 f.; 

commentary on, 53; music of, xv, 40; 

style of, xli, 159; and sung, 29, 33, 235; 

words in, 218; see also Feng 
"Ya," see under Boo\ of Poetry 
Yang, Fa-yen, 20 f. 
Yang, line, 20272; principle, 972, 1572, 135, 

142, 149, 245 
Yang-ch'i, theory of, xiii f. 
Yang-ch'iu, 89 
Yang Hsiu, see Te-tsu 

Yang Hsiung (Tzu-yiin), 30, 47, 156, 167; 
character, 267; chen, 62; re ch'i, 76 f.; 
"Chiao-lieh," 168; "Chieh-ch'ao," 74; 
"Chii-ch'in," 124; "Ch'ung-kuo" sung, 
52; classicism, xx ff., 205; criticism of, 
210; elegy for Empress Yuan, 64; faults, 
264; Fa-yen, xxi, 99, 25272; on fu, xviii, 
xxx, 49, 237; "Kan-ch'uan fu," 48, 200; 
language and ideas, 252; learning, 204; 
lien-chu, 74; on the Li-sao, 27; literary 
taste, 263; metaphors, 197; "Pai-kuan 
chen," 204; parallelism, 191; philology, 
210; reply to Liu Hsin, 145; re Ssu-ma 
Hsiang-ju, 252; style, 160; sung, 51; 
T'ai-hsiian, xx f., 26072; tiao, 72; on 
words and shu, 144; "Yii-lieh fu," 200 

Yang Hu, minister of Lu, 129, 219 

Yang Ping, 131 

Yang Ssu, 239 

Yang Tz'u, 67 

Yang Yiin, 145 

Yao, legendary sage-king, 28, 32, 86, 112, 
233 f.; advice of four chiefs, 137; and 
the "Green Dragon," 23 

Yao, state, see T'ang 

Yao, folk song, 77 

Yao-yao, buzzing, 246 

Yarrow stalks, 772 

Year, first month, 84 

Yeast, enigma re, 81 

Yeh, a leaf, 151; particle, 189 

Yeh-lao, 96 

Yellow, color, 52 

Yellow Emperor (Hsuan-yiian), 24, 41, 84 
inscription, 59, 122; malediction, 56 
military songs, 44; practice of i, 137 
"Tuan-chu," 166, 188; use of charac- 
ters, 208; and "yun-men," 32 

Yellow River Map (Ho-t'u), 10, 12, 22 

Yen, 10 

Yen, state, 71 

Yen, condolences, 152 

Yen, plain words, 229: to speak, 105/; 

Y^77, proverb, 79/;, 148, 152 

Yen An, 236 

Yen Chi, 34 

Yen-chih, see Yen Yen-nien 

Yen family, 243 

Yen-ho, see Liu Hsieh 

Yen-jan, mount, 60 

Yen-po, see Yuan Hung 

2 9 8 


Yen-shan, mount, 66 

Yen-shou, 254 

Yen Tsu, 112 

Yen Yen-nien (Yen-chih), 230 

Yen Ying, 99 

Yen Yu, "San-chiang-chun lun," 102 

Yin, see Shang 

Yin, character, 213 

Yin, enigma, 80 f. 

Yin, feminine or broken line in a hexa- 
gram, 20277; principle, 15B, 135, 142, 
149, 245 

Yin, prelude, 77, 101 

Yin, sad chanting, 77 

Yin Cheng, 39 f. 

Yin Chung-wen, "Ku-hsing," 242, 257 

Yin dynasty, praises of T'ang, 65 

"Ying," music, 39 

Ying Chen, see Chi-fu 

Ying Chii, see Hsiu-lien 

Ying Shao (Chang-Yuan), 139, 220 

Ying Yang (Te-lien), 35/2, 80, 239; schol- 
arship, 255; Wen-Inn, 5 

Yin-hsiu, 214 ff. 

Yin Ming, 24 

Yin Wen, 96, 99 

Yu, king, 234 

Yii, great, of the Hsia dynasty, 28; on 
chieh, H4f.; inscriptions, 59; songs re, 
32 f., 234 

Yii, corner, 149 

Yu, elm, 18572 

Yii, musical note, 182, 185 

Yii, particle, 189 

Yii (Shun) dynasty, no, in 

Yuan, emperor of Eastern Chin, 129; and 
state examinations, 241 

Yuan, Han emperor, 237 

Yuan, empress, 64, 88 

Yuan-ch'ang (Wang-Yung), 213 f., 265 

Yuan Chi, 36 

Yuan family, 243 

Yuan Hung, 37, 48, 242, 257 

Yuan Shan-sung, 89 

Yuan Shao, 119 

Yuan-yii, see Juan Yii 

Yuan-yu, 30 

Yu-chen, 62 

Yu Chih-kung (Yu I), 115 

Yii dynasty, 250; "Ch'ing-yiin," 166; de- 
velopment of writing, n; four-word 
line, 188; Mu, 84; parallelism, 190 

Yueh, and Hu, 228 

Yueh, state, 56 

Yueh, and li, xv 

Yueh, to please, 105 

Yiieh-fu, musical poetry, xxxvi f., 39, 41, 
44«; song-collecting office, 41 

Yueh I, reply to king of Yen, 251 

Yueh Sung, 239 

Yueh Yii, 207 

Yii-fu, 30 

Yii Hsiung, Yiitzu, 95 

Yii I, see Yii Chih-kung 

Yii K'ai, "K'e-tzu," 74 f. 

Yii Liang (Yii Yiian-kuei), 67, 241, 267; 
memorials, 129, 257 

Yiin, rhyme, 184 

Yung, song, 77 

Yung-ming ti, xxxii 

Yii-shih of the Ch'in, 132 

Yii-shun, worship of, 52 

Yii Sung of the Wei, 39, 228 

"Yu-tien," 122 

Yii Yiian-kuei, see Yii Liang 

Yu-yii, legendary ruler, see Shun 

Yu-yii (tribe), daughters of, 27/2 

Pate Due 

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